Online meet up for May 2021 - get your vote in!

Online meet up for May 2021 - get your vote in!
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Our next online meet up - May

 

Following on from our successful first ever online event in April, we’re making plans for the next one, and we want you to decide the agenda.

 

We listened to attendees at the end of April’s event, outlining some areas they would love to be able to learn and discuss more about. I think we could do with an event dedicated to each of these climate related energy technology subjects. The question is, which one will we do first?!

 

As well as making your vote, I’d love to your hear ideas for how the session can be run. For example we could have a lead speaker (s) run the session, taking questions after a presentation. Alternatively we could allow the group to run the session, either with a fixed range of discussion points, or a less structured session like the one we had in April. The feedback I had from attendees was that more structure to the agenda might be better, but maybe this depends on the agenda we choose... 

 

Our aim here is to bring knowledgeable people together with others wanting to know more. To share experience, expertise and interests, so that we leave this session more empowered and confident in the subject matter then before it started. I believe this sort of community power is essential if we’re to fight the climate crisis. So let’s get talking!

 

As for a time and date, how’s the last week of May for everyone? Date and time preferences welcome :) 

What should the agenda of our May online meet up be based on?


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Google Meet should support Breakout Rooms just fine, but it’s a feature I’ve never really played with much. I’ll grab some of my test accounts and see what I can do. :)

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We’ll most certainly be planning another online community event soon and will of course run another poll to see what everyone wants to talk about next time - just need to make sure we give everyone plenty of notice and choose a time that doesn’t clash with too many summer staycation plans! :sunglasses:

 

 

Hi folks, 

 

A quick update here from me about our next online meet up.

 

I’m definitely keen to host another session soon, and I’m ready to put the work in to make it happen. I feel that it’s a different dynamic to interacting online on public threads, and it allows for more meaningful conversation, and all that good stuff. 

 

There’s a few staycation plans coming up in June, so I’m targeting a July event. I’m aware that July might be a busy month for people if conditions allow for trips or activities that were previously not possible. Hence why I’m hesitant to reach out now for a fixed date until we have more to go on. 

 

The key thing for me is that it’s an event that’s worth your time. A guest speaker has been suggested before, and I agree that would be fantastic. It’s also a nice idea as it’s a different format. I can’t promise this for the next one as I’m not sure on feasibility, unless it was someone who’s already a community member…….. *queue the volunteers*

 

Jess also had an idea of potential break out rooms. So 2 or 3 virtual rooms you can join, to allow a small scale conversation about a particular subject. I’m aware that our first two events have enough people to warrant relatively strict rules about when to have ‘the floor’. This helps to avoid people being talked over or to dominate, but I feel it tends to hurt a natural conversational flow. So I’d welcome opinions on this!

 

As for a subject matter, the obvious option is to ask you about the two choices that weren’t selected in the last poll:

 

  1. The power sources of tomorrow

 

  1. Time of use (TOU) tariffs: what, why, how

 

Yes, no, something else. Let’s get the conversation started as once we know the agenda, we can reach out with a date to get everything booked in. 

 

Thanks,
Tim

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Shame I always seem to miss out on these trials. Are there any new ones planned please?

 

Nice to hear you’re keen to participate in one of our trials, @tesla_model_3.

 

We don’t have any upcoming trials at the moment but it’s worth keeping an eye on the Smart Home page of our website as this is where any new trial will be launched - we’ll obviously keep this community updated as well so we’ll be sure to tag you if anything new gets launched! :thumbsup:

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Unfortunately both the Zero Carbon Heating Trial and the Powervault battery Trial are in the next phase so aren’t taking new applications right now, @tesla_model_3. We’ll be posting up some more public posts about the lessons being learned from these trials soon though - so keep your eyes peeled on our Smart Home area to learn more about what you might need to consider before investing in this new Smart Home technology.

 

Shame I always seem to miss out on these trials. Are there any new ones planned please?

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Thanks for the summary of what I missed.

@Tim_OVO  would I be able to participate in trials 3 or 4 above please?

 

 

I would vote for any of these options, but I am most interested in the smart home. can we wait for the June meeting?

 

Sad we missed you both at our last event, @tesla_model_3 and @rupalimittra  - glad to hear you’re both keen to learn more about making your home Smart though!

 

Unfortunately both the Zero Carbon Heating Trial and the Powervault battery Trial are in the next phase so aren’t taking new applications right now, @tesla_model_3. We’ll be posting up some more public posts about the lessons being learned from these trials soon though - so keep your eyes peeled on our Smart Home area to learn more about what you might need to consider before investing in this new Smart Home technology.

 

We’ll most certainly be planning another online community event soon and will of course run another poll to see what everyone wants to talk about next time - just need to make sure we give everyone plenty of notice and choose a time that doesn’t clash with too many summer staycation plans! :sunglasses:

 

 

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Howdy @rupalimittra ! I see you’ve just joined us. :)

The May event has already taken place but we don’t yet have anything set up for June. I think Tim is currently working on what the next topic might be, but we’ll keep you posted.

Hello!

I would vote for any of these options, but I am most interested in the smart home. can we wait for the June meeting?

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Those are valid points @EverythingNeedsAUserName .

I did start a tutorial on the open part of the Forum called Using a Heat Pump, which draws heavily on the discussions being held by trial participants within the Smart Home Treehouse.

I deliberately avoided any content which was derived from particular trial sites. Nevertheless some of the participants did decide to comment about aspects of their Heat pump installations in the follow-up discussions to that tutorial. That’s why I responded more extensively on the important matter of those trial sites lacking storage for the space-heating of their homes.

 

You wrote:

I don’t even know what trials OVO are running and how many people are involved.

There I can help further regarding four particular trials.

1: The V2G charger Trial was not discussed in a private Treehouse area. So you can view comments from participants during the past 2 years that the trial has been active.

The original intention was to have about 1000 trial sites, all with Nissan Leaf cars.

The installation time, costs and level of expertise required on-site were underestimated. This meant that the installation budget was used up when around 450 V2G sites had been activated.

The trial term is now completed for those who started first. There is no follow-on product in the UK and no licensing for control of the charger to be continued by Kaluza if the customers wish to switch to another Energy Supplier. You can read what the participants are saying and doing about this on the topic Should I stay or should I go?

The V2G technology developed by OVO/Kaluza is now being made available by the Australian Energy Supplier AGL.

 

2: Sönnen Storage Battery Trial. This was commenced in partnership with the DNO, Western Power Distribution. It operates only in an area south and east of Lincoln.

The trial was required because WPD had power-constraints on two Distribution Grid feeds serving the area, one at 32kV and the other at 11kV. That was creating a significant drop in line-voltage during the early-evening peak. I have access to the Distribution Network Map for the Trial area, but am unable to post it here for licensing reasons.

To overcome this power constraint by a network upgrade would be prohibitively expensive, involving the need for an entirely new Bulk Supply Point (BSP) transformer. A 32kV feed from a BSP would normally serve an area with around 20,000 - 40,000 homes.

The obvious alternative was to place a number of Battery Storage devices in customer homes. These would supply energy during peak demand periods and could be replenished slowly at other times of day & night.

It is necessary for WPD to involve end-users because their Ofgem Distribution Licence forbids any DNO from owning generation, storage and grid-export devices themselves.

I don’t know the exact numbers involved, but a reasonable guess would be less than 100 properties.

All battery management is undertaken remotely using the Flex Platform

 

3: The Zero Carbon Heating Trial was the one you heard about most during today’s video link-up. It is one of three such trials being totally funded by the Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Dept (BEIS). OVO won a contract to administer a trial in SE England in the regions where UKPN and SSEN are the DNOs.

Each of the three trials are to recruit 250 participants split across a defined set of social and housing backgrounds. One of the trial participants has helpfully posted some slides from a BEIS seminar about this trial within the Treehouse. As it’s 100% publicly-funded I don’t think there can be any objection to me re-posting it here!

 

4: PowerVault Battery Storage Trial. This is the smallest of the current trials and not yet operational. You can read the OVO announcement to see the background details.

It uses 24 trial sites, two of which have 8kWh batteries and the others have 4kWh. All sites have PV Solar Panels.

PowerVault is a UK company who have put extensive R&D into an off-site central management system. This allows end-users to decide how and when their battery should receive import from the Distribution Grid in addition to electricity sourced from their PV arrays.

It is not yet known how Kaluza might be able to add any benefit to this using their Flex Platform. The PowerVault software already handles the system such that a site minimises its grid demand during the early-evening peak.

 

Thanks for the summary of what I missed.

@Tim_OVO  would I be able to participate in trials 3 or 4 above please?

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50 minutes till we start, community members - see you there!

 

@jenthomson @Speps @Blastoise186 @Jequinlan @tesla_model_3 @NinjaGeek @greengrazer @hydrosam @Simon1D @Transparent @Gingernut49 @alexb @SandraAA @juliamc @sylm_2000 @ArundaleP @EverythingNeedsAUserName @Jess_OVO 

 

:hourglass_flowing_sand:

Sorry I missed this. Was during work time so wasn't able to make it in the end

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My preference is that they be invited to a seminar-style meeting where they are given a fixed time for an initial presentation (15mins max), followed by open questions and discussion.

 

yep it would be great to have a guest speaker to hear from. I actually think that an online event is particularly well suited to this format, over more discussion/conversation based events. For one thing, a presentation slide show deck is able to be displayed on the screens of all attendees, questions can be submitted during, and then a Q&A after. An easy, tried and tested format. 


The question is, who would be the speaker.

 

As you mentioned, Transparent, wishlists exist for industry expert and/or thought leaders. Why don’t you drop in this idea to any of your industry contacts to see if anyone might be interested?

 

I’d like to think closer to home as well. I think the beautiful thing about this quirky online community is our members really are a wide ranging bunch. After all, everyone needs an electricity supply, most of us care about the environment. We have home builders, data architects, meteorologists, EV industry leads, and many more…..

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I have previously made suggestions for Guest Speakers for the next in-house VIP day at Bristol. But the ones I have in mind aren’t likely to come across very well within an online multiway conversation - especially one that’s time-constrained.

I’ll repeat the list here:

  • A DNO Engineer responsible for Network Planning and Innovation, with special responsibility for energy procurement and balancing
  • A field-representative from a Gas Distribution Network company to discuss the strategies for carbon-reduction by moving to bio-methane, and carbon-eradication by moving to hydrogen
  • An engineer who has run one of the previous/completed trials for Heat-pumps and the retro-fitting houses owned by Housing Associations
  • A representative from DCC to discuss the future evolution of energy using the National Smart Meter Network
  • A representative from Ofgem to discuss the moves towards Demand Side Response and the rules under which DNOs and GDNs must operate (known as RIIO).
  • A Member of the Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

A number of the above are already known to me.

My preference is that they be invited to a seminar-style meeting where they are given a fixed time for an initial presentation (15mins max), followed by open questions and discussion.

 

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Guest Speakers could be fun! Can we get one that’s 2.3 metres tall with 5,000w of Peak Output and weighs 350KG by any chance? :rofl:

We could have a right party with that kind of monster! Hehehehehe!

I think the hand raising method works well in some cases, but it depends on the format of the event and how many members are taking part. But I’m glad to see that we managed to fix the technical gremlins this time! Google Meet does a pretty good job of trying to adapt to varying network conditions and has quite a few tricks it can deploy if needed.

But in some ways, hand raising doesn’t always work. I definitely think muting your mic when you don’t plan to speak helps a lot - especially with reducing feedback and echo on the call. So I’d definitely still recommend staying muted when you’re not planning to speak and there’s more than five people on the call. But other than that, I think it’s something we’ll probably learn over time about what works best.

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Well said, @Blastoise186 and @EverythingNeedsAUserName - completely agree with your sentiments about a forum only being as good as it’s members and regulars. We’re lucky to have good’ns over here!

 

Also a great summary of the current trials by @Transparent which is much appreciated. 

 

A big take home for me, since launching the ‘Smart Home Trials’ area, and after the event yesterday, was just how complex the electrification of heat solutions are. Myself and Jess just saw a presentation with the Head of Insights at Energy Systems Catapult, and this area was highlighted as the one of the most challenging, at least for consumers. 

 

Gas is just so cheap, boilers just too easy to keep, and awareness: apparently a lot of the public aren’t aware of the carbon output of their gas powered heating. GSHP and ASHP solutions are not an easy and obvious one size fits all option it seems. I’m going to check if we can share any of that presentation as it was really interesting. 

 

Which take me onto my next point. Guest speakers…. something to consider for the next event?

 

How did people find the mechanic of ‘raising a hand’ to speak? I found it limited the natural back and forth flow of a conversation. How can we ensure people don’t hog the mic and talk over each other whilst allowing a conversation to form?

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Virtual backgrounds are another feature that Tim can't use either, cuz it lags and crashes his connection. Just like it did on my birthday when I was on a call with Tim and Jess!

I keep telling him that he really needs to upgrade from his ISP routers to something which has more horsepower. There's a reason my router cost me £1,000 after all...

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Haha, I know the feeling!

To be honest, I don't even have FTTC fibre yet because I'm connected to one of the only cabinets in my entire city that hasn't been upgraded yet. I do get perfect phone signal at least.

As for the chroma key weirdness, yeah that's kinda inevitable unfortunately. But at least literally everything except Zoom supports it! I hate Zoom with a vengeance for so many reasons…

But the reason I was able to turn it on before joining was basically down to my clever tricks with Google Workspace. I have a free Google Workspace for Nonprofits license with enough space for 2,000 users, so I basically "utilised" my Administrator rights to create that brand new user just for this stuff. :)

 

 

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@Transparent Thanks. That's a very helpful summary.

I might have qualified but Sadly didn't see announcement 4: PowerVault Battery Storage Trial.

Even in the North-East our solar panels have cut our bill and will payback in under 10 years. I looked at but couldn't make battery storage seem cost cost effective with our 4kW system that peaks at 3.1kW. 

 

@Blastoise186 you're right. Forums live or die because of volunteer helpers. Staff can only do so much, however good they are. I've written a guide previously on the O2 forum. I'm more active at present on a few family history Facebook groups! 

Happily we have solid FTTC in Durham but appalling mobile service at home - too many hills. Youfibre have even installed fibre in the ducts along the street and are pushing FTTH. 

I thought you were going semi-transparent today as your background tried to erase the side of your head. ;) 

 

 

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I’m glad you enjoyed the event @EverythingNeedsAUserName ! It’s something that will definitely be happening again. I’m also glad that this time, the overall reliability and accessibility of Google Meet seemed to have been much better than it was last time. The only real technical gremlins were probably more down to Transparent’s internet connection being a bit too see-through to actually be useful, but that’s beyond reasonable control. :stuck_out_tongue:

Unless you want to do a me and spend £1,000 on overpowered kit that is! But at least Tim‘s line held out for once… This was probably the first time I’ve ever been on a call with Tim using Google Meet and he hasn’t crashed out! Hehehe.

But yeah, I’m seriously glad to hear your thoughts about the forum. While a tiny bit of the magic happens in a certain private area that very few members have access to, almost everything is made public eventually.

Shh… Don’t tell anyone! That’s the Top Sekrit Lair! XD

Me and Transparent often use the sekrit lair for drafting new articles before they go live. It’s ideal to get feedback and also allows OVO to check that the content is good to go first. Especially in cases where some of the contents of a guide require approval first. Some of them generate a LOT of traffic here, but guides alone do not make a forum.

While volunteers like us are highly dedicated to the forum community and work hard to make it a success, we cannot pull it off by ourselves. The contributions from ALL members combined are what helps - even those who take part in trials or do other things. And yes, I do also consider those who aren’t actually with OVO but come here for help with their issues. Their own questions and contributions are highly valued.

You don’t need to be hold the Super User role or Plan Zero Hero rank to help out here either. 🙂 If you contribute in any way, you will be rewarded. I actually happen to know exactly what triggers all the rank ups, but apparently Tim gets upset if I reveal them because he then has to reconfigure everything. You’ll just have to figure them out without my help...

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Those are valid points @EverythingNeedsAUserName .

I did start a tutorial on the open part of the Forum called Using a Heat Pump, which draws heavily on the discussions being held by trial participants within the Smart Home Treehouse.

I deliberately avoided any content which was derived from particular trial sites. Nevertheless some of the participants did decide to comment about aspects of their Heat pump installations in the follow-up discussions to that tutorial. That’s why I responded more extensively on the important matter of those trial sites lacking storage for the space-heating of their homes.

 

You wrote:

I don’t even know what trials OVO are running and how many people are involved.

There I can help further regarding four particular trials.

1: The V2G charger Trial was not discussed in a private Treehouse area. So you can view comments from participants during the past 2 years that the trial has been active.

The original intention was to have about 1000 trial sites, all with Nissan Leaf cars.

The installation time, costs and level of expertise required on-site were underestimated. This meant that the installation budget was used up when around 450 V2G sites had been activated.

The trial term is now completed for those who started first. There is no follow-on product in the UK and no licensing for control of the charger to be continued by Kaluza if the customers wish to switch to another Energy Supplier. You can read what the participants are saying and doing about this on the topic Should I stay or should I go?

The V2G technology developed by OVO/Kaluza is now being made available by the Australian Energy Supplier AGL.

 

2: Sönnen Storage Battery Trial. This was commenced in partnership with the DNO, Western Power Distribution. It operates only in an area south and east of Lincoln.

The trial was required because WPD had power-constraints on two Distribution Grid feeds serving the area, one at 32kV and the other at 11kV. That was creating a significant drop in line-voltage during the early-evening peak. I have access to the Distribution Network Map for the Trial area, but am unable to post it here for licensing reasons.

To overcome this power constraint by a network upgrade would be prohibitively expensive, involving the need for an entirely new Bulk Supply Point (BSP) transformer. A 32kV feed from a BSP would normally serve an area with around 20,000 - 40,000 homes.

The obvious alternative was to place a number of Battery Storage devices in customer homes. These would supply energy during peak demand periods and could be replenished slowly at other times of day & night.

It is necessary for WPD to involve end-users because their Ofgem Distribution Licence forbids any DNO from owning generation, storage and grid-export devices themselves.

I don’t know the exact numbers involved, but a reasonable guess would be less than 100 properties.

All battery management is undertaken remotely using the Flex Platform

 

3: The Zero Carbon Heating Trial was the one you heard about most during today’s video link-up. It is one of three such trials being totally funded by the Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Dept (BEIS). OVO won a contract to administer a trial in SE England in the regions where UKPN and SSEN are the DNOs.

Each of the three trials are to recruit 250 participants split across a defined set of social and housing backgrounds. One of the trial participants has helpfully posted some slides from a BEIS seminar about this trial within the Treehouse. As it’s 100% publicly-funded I don’t think there can be any objection to me re-posting it here!

 

4: PowerVault Battery Storage Trial. This is the smallest of the current trials and not yet operational. You can read the OVO announcement to see the background details.

It uses 24 trial sites, two of which have 8kWh batteries and the others have 4kWh. All sites have PV Solar Panels.

PowerVault is a UK company who have put extensive R&D into an off-site central management system. This allows end-users to decide how and when their battery should receive import from the Distribution Grid in addition to electricity sourced from their PV arrays.

It is not yet known how Kaluza might be able to add any benefit to this using their Flex Platform. The PowerVault software already handles the system such that a site minimises its grid demand during the early-evening peak.

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Thanks again to everyone that made it! 

There’s a thread in the Smart Home Trials area where we’ll be able to hear from you trialists, for any follow up comments or questions based on what was discussed. 

For anyone who attended that isn’t currently on a trial and therefore doesn’t have access to that area, I’d love to hear from you about the event. Any follow up questions, takeaways or ideas, please post below... 

We’ll get a poll out soon so we can vote on the next event!

It is frustrating to be interested in but not compatible with any of the trials, so unable to have any idea what is going on.  I don’t even know what trials OVO are running and how many people are involved. We don’t get to hear about the success, learning or failures from them.

The more I think about what I heard today, the more amazed I am to find how much it has cost some of the triallists in terms of not just money, but time (lots), worry, thought and disturbance.  Thank you all for giving up so much to make our future brighter.

The knowledge of some of the participants in our forums is so wide and so deep.  The vast majority of OVO customers don’t have a clue just how helpful they are - on the forum generally and in the trials. Thank you for the education I have had reading the forum without being involved in the trials.

 

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Thanks for running that.  Interesting information, and so impressive how much effort the triallists have put into making the trials work.

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Thanks again to everyone that made it! 

 

There’s a thread in the Smart Home Trials area where we’ll be able to hear from you trialists, for any follow up comments or questions based on what was discussed. 

 

For anyone who attended that isn’t currently on a trial and therefore doesn’t have access to that area, I’d love to hear from you about the event. Any follow up questions, takeaways or ideas, please post below... 

 

We’ll get a poll out soon so we can vote on the next event!

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Is @Tim_OVO going to post a copy of the three or four main questions here so that we can all view them?

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counting down...

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Sorry, I was supposed to be home by then but I won't be now. 

Next time!

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See you soon! 

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