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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