Newsletter – March 2016

SWELL ups and downs in February

As the days continue to lengthen and we even see a little sunshine, there has been more renewable generation to share amongst the SWELL participants.  All non-generating particpants recieved a total of 26 units of power in the middle of day, meaning savings of 4.5p for each unit, plus Co-op vouchers for the generating participants.  Watchfield Sports Pavilion also earned £8.89! We expect these numbers to ‘swell’ as we head into the longer (sunnier?) days of April and beyond.

We’d like to recognise those participants who are shifting some of their energy demand. Not everyone can shift a substantial part of their energy use, but we are impressed that one participant manages to concentrate three-fifths of their electricity usage in the overnight period, while just over a tenth of their power demand comes in the evening peak.  

The SWELL project also had to grapple with the impact of fluctuations in mains power in February. It caused problems for some electrical equipment, including data collection in around a dozen of the HestiaHubs installed in participants’ homes. It’s meant that there was missing data on energy use for some partipants, and we have had to spend time to re-construct this information.

Cyd Ynni-Ynni Lleol project: recruitment, progress so far and a new partner

We have held two recruitment meetings in Bethesda so far, and have been really pleased with the response and enthusiasm. However, Cyd Ynni-Ynni Lleol still needs some extra volunteers and we will be holding more drop-in sessions (to be publicised here and locally), so if you have friends and contacts in North Wales, please let them know about the project.

Future plans include taking Cyd Ynni-Ynni Lleol into local schools, to both contribute to the curriculum and to share our money-saving message to local families. The first energy generator on this trial, a hydro plant owned by the National Trust, should be ready and generating by May. With Co-operative Energy, we are now finalising the details of payments for this generation working out ‘time-of-use’ tariffs.

We are also delighted to have ScottishPower Energy Networks as a supporter of the project.  

Mae’r Mary yn geisio dysgu siarad Cymraeg, mae’r pawb yn bendigedig.

Further confessions of a deviant demand-shifter 

Mary has continued trying out demand-shifting herself….

“Okay, I am human, and when events conspired to require hot water for a bath one evening, the immersion heater went on at 7pm! I’ve also had the washing machine pressed into service during the evening peak as well. Such moments make you grateful for the fact we do have a reliable, continous power supply.

The slow cooker is great! However, first time round I put far to much water in to start off with so it took ages to heat up!  I have also tried baking in it: that works well – better than heating up the whole oven.  I read up on it here.  More generally, I have found I can prepare food in advance (in the middle of a sunny day for example) to minimise the cooking time during the tea-time peak.   I have also noticed on my electric hobs that when simmering or steaming, I can switch the heat off and get another 10 minutes of cooking for free.

I find it hard to avoid the ‘medium price’ time from 9 to 11 pm.  I can procrastinate enough to avoid doing the ironing and hoovering during the evening peak, but find this time of day quite useful for doing these chores: at least I am not paying the most expensive prices.”

Next Stephen Lloyd Award – deadline approaches

Energy Local is really grateful to recieve the support of a Stephen Lloyd Award last year: it really helped to give us the capacity to develop our approach.  The deadline for applications for 2016 awards is 25th March, so if you have a great idea for systemic change that needs some investment, visit www.stephenlloydawards.org for more information.