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What's the Big Idea Zone on the online account?


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I would like to know more about the Big Idea Zone: owning part of a wind farm. However, other than the OVO page of ‘Choose your package’ prices, there’s no more detailed explanation of the figures and no link to the T&Cs  I can’t find a Help topic about it either, nor any discussion here. Any more info would be useful please.

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Best answer by Blastoise186 21 July 2021, 16:51

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Hi @Tim_OVO and @Jess_OVO,

 

Thanks for clarifying.  I do a lot of work in this field as part of my day job, so I know it can be difficult to gauge real interest vs just passive “click a button it doesn’t hurt”

 

I can also understand @juliamc view that potentially paying out money for something without knowing more detail would be a bit of folly, I would love to know how many unique users you’ve had actually click it to then find out what was behind the button, so to speak :)

 

I’m really interested in the whole subject matter - I mentioned earlier after deciding to buy an EV, I’m more intrigued in cleaner energy, and novel ways to help support its growth is fascinating. 

 

I hope this thread becomes of more use to other users, maybe a button to find more information can direct people here, and from this thread you can then ask people to register interest? Just an idea...

 
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Excellent ! That’ll keep me quiet for a while...thanks.

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Great detective work @juliamc and @Blastoise186!

 

And a little confession to make - this ‘Big Idea Zone’ is just that - an area for us to gauge interest in some big ideas we’ve got! 

 

Whilst we might not be offering this as a real investment opportunity at the moment, the options you select here will be taken into account when we decide what to release next. :wink:

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@Blastoise186 thanks for all that. Can you pass on the suggestion that if someone’s interested in a Big Idea there could be a great big button saying “I’m interested - please tell me more” rather than a choice of adding £250 -£2000 to their bill !!!

Userlevel 7

Thanks for these ideas, @Cwriggers 

 

I would love to know how many unique users you’ve had actually click it to then find out what was behind the button, so to speak :)

 

 

I tell you what, I’ll come back to this thread when we’ve got an update on this test feature. I might not be able to share in too much detail, but I’ll do what I can! :) 

 

 

I’m really interested in the whole subject matter - I mentioned earlier after deciding to buy an EV, I’m more intrigued in cleaner energy, and novel ways to help support its growth is fascinating. 

 

 

You sound like an OVO Forum member, @Cwriggers - someone who knows about, or is interested in green energy and greener living.

 

We're building something great here (I’m biased of course, but really), and I have started to notice a change of late, with more people taking actions, and taking an interest in greener living. We’re here to host these discussions, as best we can, so these discussions are easy to find online.

 

Speaking of which, your EV purchase. Wow big news! Would you consider sharing the sort of things that went into deciding on your EV make and model? And your experience so far? This is a great example here:

 

 

I hope this thread becomes of more use to other users, maybe a button to find more information can direct people here, and from this thread you can then ask people to register interest? Just an idea...

 

Great idea this, it ties into something we’re looking at already, where someone logged in to the OVO online portal is also logged in to this forum. We’re looking into this now, and such a change would make integrations within the online portal much more easier and valuable. 

 

Lastly, I think you might be interested in attending our online event in August, an Ask Me Anything with our Cooperate Affairs Director, Simon Maine. You can even submit a question to Simon in advance, or just turn up and ask in person on the day. More info and the option to RSVP here:

 

 

Userlevel 7

 

Didn’t @Jess_OVO have some photos of Welsh tidal power to post here?

 

Disappointing news - the tidal generation project I was planning on photographing is no more (think they may have lost funding). Some really interesting research was done there on the impact the tidal turbines had on the local seal population as well.

 

And we were just talking about our content plan, @Transparent - would love to see your ideas!

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I was waiting for someone to ask that question @juliamc ! XD

I’ve actually seen the Big Idea Zone appear and disappear over the last few weeks and have explored it, but I’ve kept quiet to see if anyone else would notice. :wink:

There’s only one experiment in there right now that I’m aware of, but there will be others over time, so it’s worth checking in every so often.

The current experiment relates to owning a part of a windfarm on the basis of having shares in it and therefore taking a slice of any revenue or profit that it generates. As far as I know, it’s being done as part of a crowdfunding project to fund the cost of building the farm, but it’s not being presented to everyone right now as it’s only an experiment. Just like some of the other sekrit experiments I’m currently taking part in… It only appears if you’ve been selected.

I actually happen to know exactly how OVO makes these things appear in MyOVO for certain members but not others. It’s done using a lot of clever sekrit magic tricks that Tim and Jess have never truly understood or mastered the art of performing (I’ve tried!), but that I’ve figured out some time ago. However, I’ve been told that I cannot reveal the secrets behind the magic, otherwise Tim will banish me to the badlands...

I must make it clear that this is a bit like an investment because you’re basically becoming a shareholder, so it’s not completely risk free. OVO’s legal team will almost certainly want me to say this, so I’m going to be proactive and say this boring legal stuff now so that I don’t upset anyone later. I don’t like to drag the mood down, but it’s something I have to do when it comes to these things (sorry!). :disappointed_relieved:

While the project is pretty exciting, there are legal matters and other paperwork that comes into the mix. Here’s a summary of some of the most important points.

  • OVO Energy is primarily an energy company so do not offer financial advice, if you're unsure about this investment please consult a suitably qualified financial adviser.
  • As with any investment, your capital is at risk and you could lose your entire investment. It may not be possible to recoup the investment and it should be considered as a long-term commitment (20 years).
  • The shares are non-transferable. Share withdrawal is subject to a 2 year minimum, T&Cs apply. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and rules may change.
  • Past performance is not a guide to future performance.
  • Any shares you may receive in the wind farm are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – this means there is no right to compensation from FSCS.

There is some info on the links that are provided, but I’m unable to provide them here because I’d need permission from @Tim_OVO first to share them.

The only link I’ve found that I can share is this one. But it’s worth noting that the details in that PDF file are not quite completely relevant and accurate in the context of OVO’s Big Idea Zone route. I’ll ask to see if there’s an alternative version available that’s more OVO focused.

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Ah ha !! Glad to be of service then !! I agree, it does sound interesting, and I’d like to know more detail and the T&Cs. But there are no links on MyOVO…..??  Thanks for all the above.

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I must admit, I’ve read the attached and the posts, and I’m still a little bewildered on what this actually is.

 

I called up to speak to Customer Service about OVO Drive initially (placed an order for an EV but been told to call back when I have the car) and they seemed to know even less than me (they suggested I need to take into consideration if I have enough space in my garden for a wind turbine...)

 

Will this investment be linked to an Ovo Account, and in theory tied into Ovo to receive any rebates that come back? 

 

It quotes £18 a year on your electricity bill - so will there be a different tariff for those who take out the offer?

What about on-going costs of maintenance etc, assuming with the “crowdfunding” you become a minor shareholder, so is there voting rights around the long term management of the farm, including any decisions around future strategic changes?

I like the idea of pitching suggestions for people to get involved, but would love a bit more information and context about how it all works.

 
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Still confused  @Blastoise186 and not ready to click Best Answer yet !! 

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@Blastoise186 thanks for all that. Can you pass on the suggestion that if someone’s interested in a Big Idea there could be a great big button saying “I’m interested - please tell me more” rather than a choice of adding £250 -£2000 to their bill !!!

Well… I could do that, but it’s a bit complicated you see. I don’t have direct access to the suggestion box myself, so I have to use a few hacks.

Firstly, I have to write a complicated script that pings @Tim_OVO so that the forum sends him an email to his already overloaded inbox and sets off the fire alarm because it will have my name in there somewhere. Then I have to wait for Tim to realise the fire alarm has been activated and to locate the thread in question. And after that, I have to give it a bit more time for Tim to write out the sugges…

Or I could just ask Jess to pass this on. Consider it done. :sunglasses:

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Woah our ‘Big Idea Zone’ is causing some Big discussions!

 

It’s worth mentioning that if you’d have selected one of the options, you’d see this message, which make it clear that this is just an idea at the moment -

 

Exact Appearance may vary

 

Perhaps by allowing members to select an option before making clear this is just an idea at the moment, we’ll find out how many members have a more committed rather than just a passing interest? Although it’s good to hear some feedback on if you think this works, @juliamc , @Transparent ?

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Well if the Big Idea Team are going to see this feedback, then I have another related issue I’d like to raise…

I think a better investment for the OVO Group at this stage would be a hydro-electric project rather than a wind-farm.

Whilst you’re busy developing Flex, you really don’t want the complexity of another grid-connected element over which you have too little control!

Both a wind-turbine farm and a hydro-electric generator would be connected to the Distribution Grid using 3-phase. That’s important because all Flex Trials to date have used devices connected to single-phase supplies.

But the hydro generation option provides the additional benefit that its output can be varied according to local grid demand.

Hydro is akin to a Storage Battery, but as it’s 3-phase then it doesn’t invoke the losses due to phase-imbalance and harmonics.

That was the big problem with the Cenex Report on the V2G Trial. It incorrectly assumed that Kaluza could demonstrate the benefit to the National Grid by adding up the export from all 400-odd test sites.

That’s invalid. Those V2G chargers were also causing losses at the substation transformers which weren’t being monitored.

Comparing hydro against the export from V2G chargers and fixed Storage Batteries in the home will enable Kaluza to calculate a rough estimate of grid losses on substations without current-monitoring in place (which is most of them!)

Nor would you need to build a hydro-plant to get this project under way. There are several in the country which could be ‘acquired’ by OVO and operated more effectively with increased investment of technology and members’ funds.

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@Transparent I’m curious to see more discussion around hydroelectricity, and actually tidal energy. How they compare against other forms of renewables on cost, environmental impact, reliability, scalability etc. 

 

We’re lacking a bit on this over here on this forum….

 

 

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Ah… hydro-electricity, eh?

Sure, I’ll just add it on to my growing list of topics required here on the Forum. At least I won’t now have the problem of what to do in January 2027. :wink:

After that, of course, I’ll get straight back to working on World Peace, Global Warming and Nuclear Fusion. :lying_face:

Didn’t @Jess_OVO have some photos of Welsh tidal power to post here?

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I would love to know how many unique users you’ve had actually click it to then find out what was behind the button, so to speak :)

 

Hot off the press, @Cwriggers, as of the 23rd July, we’ve now seen seven people attempt to add a wind farm contract to their plan, in the following volumes (0.8% conversion rate):

  • £250 package x 1
  • £500 package x 3
  • £1000 package X 1 
  • £2000 package x 2

 

Ah… hydro-electricity, eh?

Sure, I’ll just add it on to my growing list of topics required here on the Forum. At least I won’t now have the problem of what to do in January 2027. :wink:

 

 

Love it, @Transparent maybe we could start collaborating…..? @Jess_OVO and I could help you out on tackling this list…

 

 

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There’s an “idea” waiting for you on the SuperUser area @Jess_OVO  :slight_smile:

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Well, I managed to find something in a link that I can share. I've gone ahead and updated my previous comment within about five minutes of posting this one, as I want to keep everything that could be the answer in a single comment.

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Hehehe, I’m seriously tempted to use (and slightly abuse) my Global Best Answer rights to mark this question as solved right now, but I still have Tim’s voice ringing through my ears from the last time I went and did that for a whole bunch of threads. Never go on a Google Meet call with Tim when you’ve just blasted the Best Answer button on 20 threads at once… XD

But the two main reasons I don’t just hit the button immediately (for the most part) is that I prefer to allow the OP a few days of opportunity first because I prefer to let them decide - and also because it allows Tim and Jess to review the thread in case there’s a more appropriate answer either in the same thread or in another one.

Generally, my strategy these days is to use my overrides only where I see a valid reason. For example, if it’s a question related to Boost where I know the thread may not hang around for long, I might answer it and then hit Best Answer to have an email alert sent to the OP containing the full answer so that they have a copy even if the thread is unpublished. One of my other reasons is for cases where I think there’s a risk of abuse in that if I don’t mark a reasonable answer myself using my overrides, someone else might deliberately mark a bad answer as the Best Answer, which is definitely not ideal. I consider it fair game to use my powers to force a Best Answer in those (thankfully rare) cases. At least until Tim and Jess get a chance to take a look.

But other than that, I’ve learned from experience that while I can force a Best Answer on any unsolved Question, it’s one of those things that’s best used either by the OP or by Tim and Jess for the most part. I simply have the permission to use it myself within reason. And yes, I can obviously mark my own questions as solved without having to follow these same rules. :wink:

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Whilst we might not be offering this as a real investment opportunity at the moment, the options you select here will be taken into account when we decide what to release next. :wink:

Oh - so it’s not actually available ??

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Well, I guess this question does need an answer and people have already rumbled the fact I know more than I’m revealing. So I guess it won’t hurt too much to explain what this is all about.

There’s a small chance I may have also taken advantage of my detective skills and my Amazingly Magical Tricks to figure out a few more details, but the idea of the Big Ideas Zone is after all, exactly what it says on the tin. Almost everything in there relates to really big experimental ideas that someone in OVO’s dream team has come up with, and the idea is unique in some way, such as not being part of the usual stuff that OVO does.

While there’s no guarantee that everything which appears in the Big Idea Zone will become a thing, the more interest that members show in any of the ideas, the higher the chances that OVO will consider turning the idea into reality.

What I can say about the Wind Farm project is that yes, that wind farm project is a real thing that really does have a crowdfunding project campaign going on to try and make it happen. OVO wasn’t initially involved, but if OVO members are interested, then taking part in the Big Ideas Zone could result in OVO becoming a partner and making it available as an option in the future. :)

If it ever does become a reality, I will definitely try to make sure I find out as much as I can about it proactively from Tim and Jess so that I’m better informed before the questions get asked. While the ideas in the Big Idea Zone might not be ready yet and some might not make it, they’ll always be genuine ideas that someone at OVO has dreamed up as a result of a lightbulb moment. You never know what surprises could come next. :)

@Cwriggers apologies if you got confused there by the way. I’m only a forum volunteer myself and it took even me a lot longer to figure this one out than usual. Tim and Jess normally keep me in the loop about important stuff, but they didn’t mention anything in this case. I’ve heard whispers that the Support Team have since realised the mistake and they’re going to try and make sure that everyone else knows that there is no need to have a giant wind turbine in your garden for OVO Drive - the two entities are unrelated anyway. OVO Drive is the replacement for the EV Everywhere tariff and we’ve got more info on that over here.

If you’re still unsure about the Big Idea Zone though, feel free to ask on the forum. We’ll try to help as best we can!

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There are a number of questions which need answering on this Big Idea.

1: How does the ‘share of a wind-farm’ idea fit within the strict rules for share-issues, and voting rights that operate in the UK?

2: Is this project forming a new trading company, whereby the shareholders are the owners and they appoint the board of directors? Or is it a wholly-owned operation with OVO Energy or OVO Group Ltd?

3: The shares may not be tradable, but what prevents a foreign 3rd-party with pockets full of cash from buying out this asset from OVO? It’s the risk of ownership being acquired by investors that are not living in the local community which has led many MPs to campaign against wind farms.

4: What’s the difference between this Big Idea and the numerous Community Interest Companies, many of which operate in the local energy sector? Why does OVO want to start its own project rather than partner with existing energy CICs?

 

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Yep super keen to hear more from you all about this feature. 

 

Is the concept itself fit for purpose, or do existing mechanisms better serve investors?

 

How do you feel about the way we’ve gone about testing member interest? See our thinking? Would you do anything differently? 

 

As usual we’ll be on hand to pass on any insights directly to the team

 

:)

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Well I’m not going to press any button that suggests it will add £2000 to my plan, just to see what happens next !

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