Energy Local The Guide - Part 2: Your share of the hydro electricity generated

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Hydro Examples

We will use the Watery Hydroelectricity plant that is part of the Energy Local Westwater Club as an example. Imagine you are part of the Club.  In your actual Club the generation may be solar, wind or anaerobic digestion.  The principle is the same, you will just need to look out for sunny or windy days or use the Energy Dashboard online.

The Watery Hydro is south of Westwater and is situated half way up a hill. A small weir is being built higher up the hill and some water will be channelled down 500m of pipe to a small turbine room where the electricity will be generated.

The stream has a steady flow of water, night and day, all year round. This means that, aside from a few days for maintenance or if we have a dry patch in the summer, the hydro should be generating electricity, producing more when it’s been raining and less when it’s dry. When the hydro is running at full capacity it will generate 100 kWh each hour – enough to boil the kettle for 3600 cups of tea.

You’ll be able to keep track of the hydro’s generation on an Energy Dashboard online. And if you keep an eye on how much it’s been raining and with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to make a good guess at how much electricity is being generated.

The amount of electricity the hydro is generating will be measured in half hour chunks, just like your smart meter will measure how much electricity you are using each half hour.

Here are a few (simplified) examples of what your share of the hydro generation might be at different times:

Example 1- Only some of the Westwater Energy Local Club households are using their appliances and the hydro is generating lots of electricity, so your share is at its largest.

Between 2am and 2:30am:

  • you are one of 50 Westwater Energy Local Club households who have programmed the dishwasher to run overnight.
  • The other 50 households are asleep with their lights and appliances off.
  • The hydro generates 50 kWh during this time.
  • This is shared out equally between the 50 houses running their dishwashers and your share is 1 kWh.

 

Example 2 – Only some of the Westwater Energy Local Club households are using their appliances, but the hydro isn’t generating as much electricity, so your share is smaller.

Between 2am and 2:30am:

  • you are one of 50 out of 100 Westwater Energy Local Club households who have set the dishwasher to run overnight.
  • The other 50 households are asleep with their lights and appliances off.
  • It hasn’t rained much so the hydro only generates 25 kWh during this time.
  • This is shared out equally between the 50 houses running their dishwashers and this time your share is 0.5 kWh.

 

Example 3 – The hydro is generating a lot of electricity but it’s being shared between lots of the Westwater Energy Local Club households, so you share is smaller – not a good time to run the dishwasher.
It’s Friday evening between 5:30pm and 6pm:

  • you and most of the other Westwater Energy Local Club households are at home, using electricity to cook dinner and watch TV.
  • The hydro generates 50 kWh during this time.
  • This is shared between 100 households cooking and watching TV and your share is 0.5 kWh.
  • So, it’s not a good time to run the dishwasher as well.

Household electricity use is actually more complicated than in the examples above, for example, your dishwasher will use more or less energy depending on the model and settings and households where the lights and appliances are off will still use a little bit of electricity e.g. to keep the fridge cold, but these situations can give you an idea of how your share of the electricity being generated might change at different times.

All the calculations will be done automatically and you will get a monthly report on how much of your electricity use has been matched to a share of the hydro. You’ll also be able to check on a website or app at any time for up-to-date information.

All the electricity that you use that is matched to your share of the hydro’s generation will cost you for example 8.5p per kWh, which is likely to be around half the price you currently pay.

Have a look at our explanation here to see how your electricity use will be a mixture of your share of the hydro and extra electricity bought from the supplier.

When might your share be bigger – a good time to run dishwashers, washing machines, etc.?
1) At off peak times like overnight and lunchtime when fewer households are using less electricity.

2) When it’s been raining and the hydro is generating lots of electricity.

When might your share be smaller?
1) At peak times when more households are using more electricity, like teatime and at breakfast.

2) When it hasn’t rained for a while and the hydro isn’t generating as much electricity.

 

Energy Local The Guide - Part 1: How it works

Energy Local The Guide - Part 2: Your share of the solar electricity generated

Energy Local The Guide - Part 3: Project Timescales

Energy Local The Guide - Part 4: Tips for your washing machine and tumble dryer

Energy Local The Guide - Part 5: Upgrading Your Lighting

Energy Local The Guide - Part 6: Electricity price

Energy Local The Guide - Energy Efficiency