Newsletter – March 2017

1. A truly SWELL celebration!  

As many of you know, the SWELL pilot project has been working with 48 households in the three towns of Watchfield, Shrivenham and Longcot to match energy demand to local solar domestic electricity production and shift energy demand to lower price periods (rewarded in shopping vouchers). The pilot has been testing equipment that has been designed to control electrical devices, (in particular storage heaters and water heaters).

As the project draws to a close we had a great turnout of participants and supporters to our celebration event where we heard about the results of the project and everything that has been achieved. Prizes were awarded for the best demand shifter, community champion, and bug fixer, amongst others.  We’ll be sharing the results and presentations from the day soon on our website. Big thanks to all participants and special thanks also to Sarah James from Weset who worked on the ground with local households and project partners and without whom the project may never have got going.

The project has been made possible by a number of partner organisations who deserve our thanks. Cooperative Energy, Exergy Devices, Oxford University ECI, De Montfort University, Moixa, Weset and Energise Sussex Coast.

2. Energy Local travels  

Energy Local has been travelling up and down the country.  Mary was very pleased to be invited to a Community Energy Scotland workshop in Inverness to discuss the next steps for community energy and how Energy Local can fit together with and support other projects ranging from remote island power projects to fuel poverty initiatives in tower blocks.

Meanwhile, Tom presented at Regen’s Smart Energy marketplace in Exeter and renewed contacts in Devon and Cornwall where there is a constrained electricity network, with very limited capacity for handling additional local electricity generation, but where there is huge potential for community renewables.

Next up, Mary will be discussing Energy Local at the NEA (National Energy Advice) Cymru Fuel Poverty Workshop.

3. Roll out of the Energy Local model – 2017 and beyond

Working with Community Energy Wales, Community Energy Scotland and Repowering London we are scoping out the next potential Energy Local projects. There is plenty to do behind the scenes to prepare before we can get these projects going but we are getting ready to roll!

The projects will be dependent on fitting together all the bits of the jigsaw – funding, partners and energy generation opportunities and we’ll be using our scenario modelling tool to work out how to target the next pilot schemes.

4. Bethesda pilot project – up close and personal

Climate charity 10:10 visited Bethesda for the day to get the last few shots for an Energy Local film about energy demand shifting and to interview participants about how they’ve been getting on so far. There were some great stories told about how extra cash savings on energy bills had been spent on days out with the kids and how proud people felt to have this project happening in their area. More on this soon!

5. Thanks to our tech project partners 

Open Energy Monitor, Energy Assets and EPower are working hard with us to improve the data communication with the smart meters and our energy dashboard as part of the Bethesda pilot. In due course, we will be developing a “home hub” to help schedule household appliances which will make demand shifting for households a great deal easier in future.