Monthly Archives: April 2013

Haringey issue new energy and carbon planning guidance

April 2013: Haringey fully adopted a new and very useful Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on Sustainable Design and Construction last month. It’s stated that the “document will be considered in determining planning applications. It does not create new policy, but complements the Local Plan and brings together policy requirements and guidance from national, regional and local planning framework that promote sustainable buildings.” The SPD can be downloaded here.

Two sections are of particular interest.  Section 3: Energy & Carbon – and Section 4: Changing Climate – the latter focused on relevant adaptation issues. Section 3 mentions the following:

“The Upper Lee Valley is one of London’s most exciting areas of change and the opportunity for an alternative energy supply in the area is unique. The core idea of the strategic decentralised energy network here is to capture low-carbon heat from waste-to-energy facilities in the Edmonton area of the Lee Valley and supply the heat to existing businesses and residential customers as well as to new developments.”

The appendices document provides further information on energy requirements related to planning applications to the borough.

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Islington Establish New Carbon Offset Fund

April 2013: One of the many interesting things being developed by Islington – as set out in their recently launched Energy Strategy 2013-2016 – is the creation of a new ‘Carbon Offset Fund’. The Energy Strategy sets out that:

“A Carbon offset policy will be implemented in 2013 which will generate funding for investment in energy efficiency of existing social housing. As part of the Energy Statement building applicants will need to demonstrate how a scheme meets the relevant on site carbon emissions reduction targets by following the energy hierarchy:

  1. Maximise energy efficiency
  2. Supply energy efficiently using low carbon heating and cooling systems
  3. Incorporate renewable energy
  4. Offset remaining carbon emissions.

The council will look to use the carbon offset fund to mitigate emissions from existing stock by targeting specific projects that lower carbon emissions such as cavity wall and solid wall insulation , boiler replacements, improvements to communal heating systems and decentralised energy project work. In relation to DE, the energy strategy states that Islington has identified 14 heat network opportunities across the borough, which it intends to implement between 2013 and 2018. The total cost is estimated to be £42M with a funding gap of £20M expected to be filled by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

Islington’s recently adopted Environmental Design Supplementary Planning document (SPD) highlights (para2.02) that “implementation of the carbon offset mechanism (part of policy CS10) will generate significant funding for investment in the energy efficiency of housing, including existing social housing – given that around 75% of the current building stock is likely to be still standing in 2050, this mechanism will be crucial to addressing fuel poverty.”

Importantly , the SPD sets out the offset costs:

” For all major developments the financial contribution shall be calculated based on an established price per tonne of CO2 for Islington. The price per annual tonne of carbon is currently set at £920, based on analysis of the costs and carbon savings of retrofit measure suitable for properties in Islington. The calculation of the amount of CO2 to be offset,and the resulting financial contribution, shall be specified in the submitted Energy Statement. The spending of carbon offset payments and monitoring of CO2 savings delivered will be managed by the council.”

Minor developments are to be treated differently: “As minor schemes are not required to produce Energy Statements to the same level of detail as major developments the process for carbon offsetting has been simplified. The cost of the offset contribution is a flat fee based on the development type as follows: Houses – £1500 per house; Flats – £1000 per flat.

The rationale behind these cost charges is set out in some research undertaken for Islington – see AECOM Davis Langdon report Promoting Zero Carbon

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The PM’s energy speech – that wasn’t…

April 2013:  Back in February, at the launch of DECC’s ‘Energy Efficiency Mission’ in London – the special guest to the event was the Prime Minister himself who made a short speech on the key importance of energy efficiency to the economy. As the following Association of Conservation (ACE) post points out, the PM’s speech was  – strangely – never mentioned, released or press released by Number 10.

However – following a Parliamentary Question earlier this week, the speech has now finally been made available and can be viewed here – ‘Why Energy Efficiency Matters’.

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Southwark Heat Services Contract Agreed

April 2013: Southwark has recently agreed and signed a ‘Head of Terms’ agreement on a heat services contract with Veolia for “the provision of low carbon heat from the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP)”. As set out in a 2012 press release from the council, the project is to to create a district energy network which will transport heat – that is currently wasted – from Veolia’s  South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) Energy from Waste plant in Lewisham, to serve six housing estate in Southwark. Further information on the project can be seen in an earlier post here.

Following a period of consultation last year with leaseholders setting out the proposals and projected reductions in heating costs (see documents heresee the ‘Statement of Case’ document in particular to the proposed reduction in heat prices to tenants), the council has now completed negotiations with Veolia. A new Southwark report sets out some of the key requirements of the agreement. These include that:

  • The cost of heat could be no more than the cost of heating using the current gas boilers. This has been agreed.
  • There could be no capital investment required from the Council. This has been agreed.
  • The full operational risk of the system should be taken by the contractor. This has been agreed.
  • A price indexation mechanism should ensure that the cost of the heat rises less than the expected rise in energy prices. This has been agreed
  • There should be significant environmental benefits including a reduction in CO2 emissions and local pollution. This has been agreed.
  • The Council should share in the benefits of any expansion of the heat network.

The contract will expire in April 2033 at the same time as the boroughs waste PFI contract with Veolia. This project has clearly taken considerable time and effort by all concerned, but particularly Southwark officers, and they should be congratulated on seeing this project through. Getting heat output from the SELCHP plant after such a long time  (the plant is some 20 years old now)  is a considerable ‘win’ and should hopefully provide energy cost reductions to Southwark residents and broader environmental benefits in terms of carbon reduction.

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Lewisham Renaissance and Decentralised Energy

23 April 2013: The BBC’s Radio 4 World Tonight programme included an interesting 10 minute piece last night on sustainable cities with contributions from Peter Madden, CEO of Forum for the Future, and architecture critic Jonathan Glancey. Included in the discussion was mention of the Renaissance project, part of the Lewisham Gateway development. [The piece can be heard herescroll to 20mins into the programme]

Lewisham Council’s website sets out that this major development project in the borough, recently dubbed as the Renaissance [but locally known as Loampit Vale  – opposite Lewisham station] incorporates an energy centre which contains:

“a gas powered engine  CHP (‘Combined Heat and Power’) which generates both electricity and heat, as well as a biomass boiler and gas boilers. Heat energy for residents’ heating and hot water requirements is generated within the energy centre and then distributed via an energy network to a Heat Interface Unit situated within each property, negating the need for conventional gas boilers.”

Unusually for such developments, the Renaissance scheme  will not only supply heating to the whole of the  Renaissance (including the leisure centre and also the London City Mission) but the “the energy centre will also supply electricity to the homes in the block above, as well as to the leisure centre. Excess electricity generated within the energy centre is exported to the National Grid, and the revenue generated offsets the cost of producing heat.” This is a really interesting  move – that is the sale of the electricity to onsite customers – by the developer Barratts, and needs to be studied to see how things progress. Much more on efforts being undertaken to help secure the sustainable energy credentials of this project here – and also some further detail in an early Mayoral planning report on the project [see para 99 onwards].

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Heygate Energy Strategy

April 2013:  The Mayor and Southwark Council have recently given final planning permission to the development of the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle which, as the following GLA press release states, will see the “23 acre site demolished and redeveloped delivering up to 2,469 new homes, a quarter of which will be affordable, as well as new shops, offices, leisure and community facilities and a park.”

As one of the largest regeneration projects in the country, there’s been considerable focus on the development – including the energy strategy for the project (details on previous posts here and here).  The final energy assessment report for the development (and updated addendum) can be accessed at Southwark’s Planning website (and directly here Strategy, Addendum).

A site-wide district heating network is being proposed connecting all apartments and commercial units supplied from a single energy centre.  The energy centre building would also include an  education centre and cafe. Which is nice…

Further information is contained in the Mayor’s Planning report on the application – paras 210 onward highlighting that:

  • A potential to link the heat network to the proposed SELCHP district heating network, in Bermondsey has been explored. This is unlikely to be viable in the near term. The applicant has committed to designing the energy infrastructure to allow future connection to SELCHP should it prove viable at a later stage.
  • A phased installation of combined heat and power (CHP) is being proposed in line with the phasing of the development. This would begin with a 263 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on during 2019. This would then be followed by a 985 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on in 2021 as the lead heat source for the site heat network.
  • The preferred renewable energy strategy for the site  is to use biomethane fuel supplied over the gas network. This renewable fuel would be produced and injected into the national grid elsewhere and then purchased as a credit to supply some or all of the gas consumption requirements of the CHP plant and gas boilers in the energy centre.
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£67.23m of DE projects to be delivered in London

22 April 2013: A useful update on some of London’s key decentralised energy (DE) projects being supported by the Mayor has been produced for the GLA Investment and Performance Board meeting taking place tomorrow (23 April). The Mayor’s Decentralised Energy Project Delivery Unit (DEPDU) is a three-year programme set up in August 2011 with €3.3m funding, 90% of which was secured from the European Investment Bank’s ELENA facility.

The paper (link to paper, direct here) sets out that the GLA has a contractual target with the EIB to deliver £67.23m of DE projects to market before the 3rd of August 2014.   The following projects as of 31st December 2012 have been taken to market through the GLA’s Decentralised Energy for London programme and, as agreed with the EIB as eligible projects. Together, they represent £42.3m, or 64% of the final ELENA target.

Project Eligible CAPEX (£) Construction completed CO2 savings (t/year) Project stage
Islington Bunhill Phase 1 £6,499,107 2011 2,950 Operational
Cranston Estate £7,800,000 2011 1,200 Operational
Crystal Palace CHP £1,490,000 2011 1,850 Operational
Olympic Fringe Extension £1,350,000 2011 960 Operational
Royal Free £6,073,621 2012 4,060 Operational
Brent South Kilburn £17,170,000 Unknown* 835 Procurement
Lewisham Goldsmiths College £1,911,706 2014 947 Construction
TOTALS £42,294,434 12,800

The paper states that when “fully developed and in operation, these projects will contribute with 4.7 MW of installed electrical capacity (and 35.7 MW of installed thermal capacity (enough to provide heat and power to 6,000 homes) to London’s generation from DE sources and will save up to an estimated 12,800 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

“In addition, the DEPDU is also currently supporting the development of an additional 22 projects with a combined value of £304m. Of these, five are in advanced stages of development, and are expected to be brought to market within the following 12 months.”

Project Estimated CAPEX (£) Construction completed CO2 savings (t/year) Project stage
Euston Road £7,025,000 2014 4,594 Procurement
Westminster PDHU / Whitehall £5,480,000 2015 5,500 Business case
SELCHP £6,000,000 2013 3,395 Construction
LSIP £2,000,000 2014 1,584 Procurement
Haringey North Tottenham £8,060,000 2016 5,148 Pre-feasibility
TOTALS £28,565,000 20,200

When fully developed and in operation, the paper states “these projects will contribute with 3.2 MW of installed electrical capacity and 90 MW of installed thermal capacity (enough to provide heat and power to 14,000 and 4,500 homes respectively) to London’s generation from DE sources and will save up to an estimated 20,200 tonnes of CO2 per annum.”
The paper goes on to say that the “paper does not include projections on jobs created. However, it is our intention to incorporate estimates of jobs created for future reporting and we will work with GLA Economics to establish a robust methodology.”
Further information on many of these projects can be found by searching on this website.

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Greenwich Power Station- a long term low carbon energy solution for London?

April 2013: Greenwich Power Station (GPS) is Transport for London (TfL)/London Underground’s (LU)  single remaining source of non-National Grid electricity. It’s Wiki entry lists it as a “a standby oil, gas, and formerly coal-fired power station available as a back-up electricity source for the London Underground”. A past TfL environment report sets out that  “Originally a coal-fired power station, Greenwich was built between 1902 and 1910 in order to supply electricity to the London Tram Network. Today electricity is generated by eight Rolls Royce Avon gas turbine engines which were installed between 1967 and 1972. These engines are fuelled by natural gas and are also capable of running on fuel oil which is stored as an emergency reserve at the site.”

A few months ago, TfL issued something called a ‘Periodic Indicative Notice’ the purpose of which  was to allow interested parties with appropriate experience to participate in “developing a solution to exploit opportunities for low carbon energy generation” at Greenwich power station.

Continue reading…

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Newham’s Heat-Heat-Power-Power Station

April 2013:  There’s been a lot of coverage over the past week over news of an East London scheme to burn so-called ‘fatbergs’. Here’s a run-down over what’s being proposed:

  • The developer, 2OC, has signed a 20-year deal worth over £200m with Thames Water to develop a new power station
  • 2OC say that a ‘Combined Heat and intelligent Power (CHiP) plant’ will be constructed at Thames Water’s Beckton Sewage Treatment works
  • The plant will use  fuels derived from fats, oils and greases (FOGs) – being called ‘fatbergs’ by the press – which build-up in London’s drains [the Sunday Times describes these ‘fatbergs’ as“boulder-sized balls of grease” the worst of which “require “flushers” — clad in protective white suits and shovels — to descend into the bowels of the city to break them up”]
  • Thames Water press release states that the company has committed to provide at least half of the fuel the generator requires – in the form of 30 tonnes a day of FOGs
  • Other fuel sources will include oil wastes from food outlets and manufacturers, processors and tallow (animal fats). The company say that there no virgin oils from field or plantation grown crops are to be used
  • These FOGS would otherwise be tipped down the drain or dumped in landfill and are responsible for most of the blockages in Thames Water’s 109,000 km of sewers. Removing them costs £1m a month.
  • 2OC’s press release states that “The CHiP plant will produce 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity a year – enough to run just under 40,000 average sized homes. 75GWh will be purchased by Thames to run its sewage works – and desalination plant (also based at the Beckton site) – and the rest will be sold on to the national grid.”
  • Waste Management World states that 19MWe will be generated with the CHP based around a two-stroke marine diesel engine
  • Thames Water’s press release provides some additional information on a further novel use of the scheme. The heat output from the CHP scheme will be used to heat up gas as part of the pressure reduction process at the adjacent Beckton gasworks. The gas pressure has to be dropped to make safe for delivery to homes and businesses. Lowering the pressure of a gas causes a huge drop in temperature, which could freeze and crack pipework. Using waste heat from the engine will reduce the need from gas to be burned to produce the heat currently required to do this job. 20C will also recover some of this thermal energy to generate even more electricity.”
  • Back to the 2OC press release which provides some extra info on the last line of the para above: “Additional power is generated from the recovery of thermal energy (provided by heat from the engine)  via a turbo-expander in the gas stream”
  • Additional renewable heat will also be made available for any housing schemes nearby
  • The Sunday Times article states that “Workers have begun clearing the site, adjacent to the Beckton sewage plant. They must work fast because time is against 2OC and Thames. The facility must be up and running by April 1, 2015, in order to qualify for the giant subsidies it needs to be viable.
    The government guarantees two renewables obligation certificates, a type of green subsidy, for each megawatt hour of power that is generated by experimental technologies. That equates to three times the wholesale electricity price of about £50 per megawatt hour. However, if the Beckton plant comes onstream even one day later than April 1, it will be disqualified.” It’s less to do with it being an ‘experimental technology’ but it being a waste CHP plant which helps quality it for 2 ROCs under the RO.
  • The Sunday Times article also considers what the fuel requirement will mean in practice: Importantly, Thames will not be collecting the cooking oil that one would find in a deep- fat fryer. There is already a big market for this. McDonald’s, for example, recycles the oil from its restaurants into biodiesel for its fleet of delivery lorries… At least once a week a Thames lorry will arrive at participating restaurants to collect a fat-laden tray and replace it with it a clean one. Co-ordinating the operation will be a logistical nightmare. The Beckton power plant will need the equivalent of a shipping container’s worth of fat every day.”
  • Andrew Mercer, chief executive of 2OC, said:“This is good for us, the environment, Thames Water and its customers. Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable. When Thames doesn’t need our output, it will be made available to the grid meaning that power will be sourced, generated and used in London by Londoners.”

Okay:  a lot going on there which is worth going over. What is being proposed is the combustion of these various FOG fuels in a diesel engine to generate electricity. This electrical output from this engine will be directed in the first instance to the sewage treatment works, the Beckton desalination plant (when it needs it – it’s not expected to operate that often) – and also exported to the grid.

The heat from the engine will be captured (as it’s operating in CHP mode) and that will be used to go to the sewage treatment works also, and some is also being proposed to go to local residents via a district heating scheme (of which there is scant detail at the moment). But  some the CHP heat will also go to a Gas Pressure Reduction Station owned by National Grid which is next door to the Beckton sewage treatment works. This is a site where gas is depressurised from the high pressure national gas transmission system, to a lower pressure local distribution system, which can then be fed into homes and businesses. Lowering the pressure of a gas causes a huge drop in temperature, which could freeze and crack pipework, hence heat via a boiler has to be provided on site to help this process (which is currently done). The CHP waste heat will now help fulfil this role, helping reduce the need for gas-burn in the existing boiler.

Last bit: 20C have been exploring for several years now on integrating a device called a turbo expander into the gas pipeline at these pressure reduction station sites.  The expansion of gas at these points from higher to lower pressure allows – with the use of the turbo expander – the generation of electricity. All in all – this  is probably the reason why 2OC are calling this project a ‘Combined Heat and Intelligent Power’ (CHiP) plant!

And did I mention that Thames Water are also installing a 1.5MW wind turbine at the Beckton site also…?!

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Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference

April 2013:  The UK  Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference is being held at City Hall by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Defra, the Transport KTN, Cleaner Air for London, the LowCVP and the ADBA on 5 June 2013. Free to attend, the conference will bring together 120 professionals from the AD industry, local authorities, government departments and agencies, supermarkets, fleet operators and those interested in the development of biomethane for transport to discuss a wide range of issues. Full details here.

The Mayor has recently stated that London as yet does not operate any biomethane buses, and highlighted the biomethane filling station in Camden, where he states that he is looking at the potential to increase the use of bio-methane and other low emission alternative fuels in London’s transport sector and would like other boroughs and organisations to install and promote clean alternative fuels and refuelling stations, such as what is being provided in Camden.” More on Camden’s York Way Compressed biomethane gas refuelling station here.

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Energietübbing for Crossrail?

April 2013: This week’s New Scientist features how “Smart heat is helping building the next energy revolution”. The article (subscription only…)  looks how the use of technologies such as  combined heat and power (CHP) and heat pumps could help “reverse some of the damaging effects that waste heat from our towns and cities is having on the climate ” –  and the use of waste heat from London Underground is also examined:

“As passengers often complain, exhaust heat accumulates in the train tunnels under many of our largest cities. Even on a cold day, temperatures on platforms in the London Underground can reach 20 °C. To harvest that warmth, German companies Züblin and Rehau, together with Arup, have designed a liner for tunnel segments that functions like the buried coils in ground source heat pumps, using the heat generated by engines and braking along with that from the surrounding ground to warm the refrigerant, again by compression. As this transfers the excess energy from the tunnel to the refrigerant, the process also causes the tunnel to cool.”

“The lining – dubbed Energietübbing – was placed into a 54-metre-long stretch of a new high-speed rail tunnel in Jenbach, Austria, to supply the municipal building above with enough heat to completely replace the existing boiler. It is still being optimised, but in its first successful winter it coped with outside temperatures as low as -15 °C. London commuters could soon benefit as well. Crossrail, a railway being constructed under the city, is considering Energietübbing for several segments of the new tunnel, where it too would both cool the tunnel and provide the resulting heat to buildings above.”

A recent question to the Mayor highlights which of the stations on the Crossrail route are planned to integrate heat pump technology to provide waste heat to buildings above.  “Out of the twelve oversite development schemes Crossrail is developing only two will not include a capability for using ground source heat pumps. These are at Woolwich and Limmo, where Crossrail is constructing a vent shaft. At these sites a large proportion of the oversite development schemes are not integrated with Crossrail infrastructure. Future owners of these oversite development schemes will however be able to install ground source heat pump technology within the buildings’ foundations.

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A Haringey Green Deal Diary

April 2013: Great blog of a Green Deal ‘journey’ by sustainability expert Sofie Pelsmakers. Sofie started the process with a free Green Deal energy assessment offered to residents and business in Haringey (which is funded through DECC’s recently Green Deal Pioneer Places funding).  These free assessments are still on offer with the deadline recently extended to 30 April – more here.

Having had her assessment finalised – Sofie appears now to be struggling to secure Green Finance:

DECC issued their latest Green Deal and ECO monthly statistics last week with Greg Barker stating that “It is clearly very early days but the latest figures on the Green Deal show that this new market is gathering real momentum. 9,268 Green Deal assessments taking place in just over two months is very encouraging and shows a genuine interest from consumers.

The statistics do not however provide a breakdown of how many of these assessments came out of activities through the  Energy Company Obligation (ECO) process rather than directly as a result of households taking up the Green Deal. Additionally, the Green Deal Finance Company have stated that it is “yet to sign its first Green Deal Plan with a householder, but suggested it would not be long before it did. “There is one good to go and we are reviewing two others””.

Green Deal statistics for London will be available from DECC in June.

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