Tag Archives: Community Heating

“The power revolution could soon be moving from dream to reality”

10 August 2016: Welcome to see the Evening Standard today include a major comment piece by Leo Johnson on how “Small-scale projects such as those in Newham, Brixton and Islington give a glimpse of Britain’s energy future”.

Leo highlights three projects in London as signs of how the decentralised energy model is now in the ascendancy, shifting from the “dominant energy model, the centralised production and distribution of fossil fuel-based power through the grid”.

  • “In Newham, for example, the Combined Heat and intelligent Power plant (CHiP) aims to harness the energy from “fatbergs”, the bus-size balls of grease which cost Thames Water an estimated £1 million a month to remove, using teams of trained “flushers” decked out with protective white suits and shovels who descend into London’s Victorian sewer system to hack up the fat. CHiP plans to use the fat instead to power 40,000 homes.” This project is fascinating and received a lot of coverage when first announced back in 2013 – which was covered in some detail in an earlier post here – but not much further information has been forthcoming from the project on their website.
  • “In Brixton, the energy group Repowering is installing solar panels on the rooftops of housing association buildings to lower fuel bills, and is teaming up with Transport for London to introduce “energy gardens” across 50 London Overground sites.” In June of this yearRepowering was awarded a prestigious Ashden Award for their work – a case study and excellent video are posted on the Ashden website here. The Energy Gardens project was covered by ITV news a few weeks ago – see video here – and more can be seen at energygarden.org.uk
  • “At the Bunhill Energy Centre project in Islington, whose second phase was opened by Mayor Sadiq Khan last month, they’re using heat from the Northern line tube to power a thousand homes.” Lots more about Bunhill here.

Leo also highlights some work commissioned by the GLA by  engineers Buro Happold “have estimated that there is enough heat wasted in London alone to power 70 per cent of the city’s energy needs. What’s the potential for growth? Copenhagen provides 98 per cent of its space and water heating through district heating, at 45 per cent of the cost of normal oil heating bills. London’s uptake, better than the one to two per cent national average, is currently just five per cent.”  The 2013 London Secondary Heat study can be downloaded here.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

an update on a GLA study to evaluate the potential for the use trackside solar power production; Post Brexit, how the Mayor will use his role in the Brexit negotiating team to preserve the hard-fought environmental protections; the number of decentralised energy projects that are projected to come online this year; how the Mayor can encourage Londoners to switch energy suppliers; an estimate of the number of connections that will be provided with heat from the Beddington energy from waste plant to the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) – and whether Barratt Homes has signed a heat agreement with the plant’s operator, Viridor; whether the Mayor will respond to the Government’s recently released Energy Company Obligation (ECO) consultation;
work to encourage energy efficiency improvements in the private rented sector (PRS);
the RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit programme’s strategy over the coming year; the number of jobs linked to the green economy in London; the Mayor’s role with C40 Cities, and borough surface water management plans

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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New GLA Decentralised Energy Framework Notice

July 2016: The GLA have issued a tender to secure a range of services related to supporting the growth of decentralised energy projects in the capital:

The tender (GLA80814 – Decentralised Energy Framework) (direct download) sets out that the GLA seeks consultants with experience in:

  • developing business cases and business plans for DE projects
  • structuring templates for project delivery
  • providing commercial advise to private and public sector clients in negotiating key agreements
  • assessing different delivery vehicles and ownership structures, such as Public Private Partnership (PPP) options — Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and Joint Venture (JV) structures
  • producing early project commercial documentation (including risk registers) and agreements
  • working with financial advisors in providing guidance on possible funding sources, including maintaining relationships with banks and investment boutiques
  • in-depth knowledge of energy markets, energy trading and negotiations.

Much of the work undertaken in this area to date, carried out by the GLA through the Decentralised Energy Project Delivery Unit (DEPDU) –  which officially closed in July 2015 –  is posted online at www.londonheatmap.org.uk.

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Islington District Heating Planning Guidance Published

July 2016: Islington have recently published new environmental design planning guidance on heat networks: The guidance is released in two parts – with Part 1 giving an overview of the existing and and planned Islington heat networks, as well as an introduction to the principal behind heat networks (referencing the GLA’s 2014 London Heat Network Manual). Part 2 provides technical guidance to developers looking to connect to Islington’s Bunhill heat and power network.

The Council sets out that it is “committed to working with partners to promote and develop decentralised energy (DE) networks, with a particular focus on areas of the borough with the greatest potential for such networks. Existing DE networks within the borough will be protected and their expansion supported. All development will be required to contribute to the development of DE networks, including by connecting to such networks where these exist within the proximity of the development.”

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

June 2016: Positive to see the focus on energy and climate issues by a number of London Assembly members at the first question time of the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan. This month’s questions included the following issues:

the quantity of electricity supplied to TfL through the Mayor’s Licence Lite operation and few other questions on Licence Lite (here and here); supporting the growth of London community energy schemes; the London Energy Strategy; committing to London’s 25 per cent decentralised energy target; the 2020 nearly zero energy buildings target; the publication of the annual update to the GLA Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Strategy; London Energy Plan supporting studies; supporting the growth of district heating projects; support for London’s 2025 60 per cent carbon reduction target; the future of the RE:NEW and RE:FIT building retrofit programmes; the number of domestic energy efficiency retrofits supported by RE:NEW since January 2015; numbers on the GLA’s boiler scrappage list; ring fencing London’s Zero Carbon Homes offset fund; the number of zero carbon homes that could be built by 2020; zero carbon buildings planning requirements will come into force in 2019; how much money could be raised through the Zero Carbon Homes offset fund; interim targets to the Mayor’s manifesto commitment for London to be a zero carbon city by 2050; climate change and water vapour; how the Mayor will support London’s low carbon economy; emissions from river traffic  (and another); zero emission cabs and PHVs abd if CO2 is a pollutant – and finally:

whether the Mayor understands “that further increases in carbon dioxide levels will not significantly increase average global temperatures due to near saturation absorption by COin the 13 – 17 µm band of the infra-red spectrum”.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Heat metering: socio-technical challenges in district-heated social housing

April 2016: “The case of a district-heated council block in London is presented where the installation of individual heat meters was planned in 2010 but had to be suspended due to concerns about implications for occupant heating costs in light of the thermal performance of the building. It illustrates a technically and socially complex environment where fairness in allocating heating costs is an important concern” Research paper presented in academic journal Building Research and Information. Link here. Paper downloadable here.

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Sutton Decentralised Energy Network Tender

April 2016:   Sutton Council have recently issued a tender to support a planning application “for the construction of district heating pipes on behalf of the Authority” (specification here). Opportunity Sutton highlight how the “project will utilise waste heat from the proposed Beddington Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) and existing landfill gas engines, both of these are owned by Viridor.” Further details are available in the following brochure.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

March 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time – the last in Boris Johnson’s eight year tenure as Mayor – once again included a wide range of questions on energy and climate, which included:

capturing waste heat from London Crossrail stations; the Mayor’s record on climate changeLondon based generators and Licenced Lite; the ability for Londoners connected to a district heating scheme to complain about poor service performance; anticipated prices of district energy heat tariffs;  announcing the start of the Licence Lite programme; improvements in electricity export sales price for generators through Licence Lite; the number of Excess Winter Deaths amongst Londoners; challenges in promoting gasification technologies at the Olympic Park; the GLA’s Environment Team budget over the last 8 years; targets associated with the Boiler Scrappage Scheme; publication of London district energy schemes heat tariffs; the publication of London Energy Plan studies; guaranteeing that there are no plans for an incineration plan at Old Oak Common; the Mayor’s Boiler Scrappage scheme and fraud; RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit programme delivery problems; how government energy efficiency programmes have helped Londoners; the amount of  London’s (non transport) energy is supplied through local decentralised energy systems; cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO); the Mayor’s recent meeting with the Secretary of State for Energy; the absence of London Fuel Poverty Strategy; the roll out of smart meters in London
Sutton district heating scheme; embodied carbon; annual progress on decentralised energy growth in London; anticipated savings from the new GLA boiler ‘cashback’ schemevisits by the Mayor to RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit projects; TfL future energy costs and the Mayor’s meeting with the National Infrastructure Commission.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Islington Council receives £30,000 for energy scheme

7 March 2016: “Islington has netted a £30,000 government grant to set the wheels in motion on an innovative energy saving scheme. The funding will be used for a study into how to extend the current district heating network to housing estates situated to the south of Bunhill.” Read the full Islington Gazette story here.

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Nine Elms District Heating Progress

February 2016:  “SSE Enterprise Utilities has delivered a low carbon multi-utility solution for a new residential and commercial development on the banks of the Thames.
Hundreds of properties at the Riverlight development will be served by an energy centre housing a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit, gas fired boilers and ground source heat pumps. Installation and ownership of the water, gas and electricity networks on site means that SSE Enterprise Utilities is providing a true multi-utility service.” Read full SSE news release here. A case study on the project is available here and video here.

Also just released is news from  district heating provider Vital Energi that they won a contract at Nine Elms Point, which will see them install a CHP energy centre, connecting a  further 645 homes to a heat network at this major regeneration site. Nine Elms Point is being delivered in partnership with Sainsbury and Barratt London and Vital have won the contract to perform the installation of the main Energy Centre, Chiller Plant Room and Heat Substations, in addition to all the works to residential and commercial properties, including Hydraulic Interface Units, Cooling Interface Units and Heat Meters in a contract worth £8 million.”

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District heating as heterotopia

27 January 2016: “District heating as heterotopia: Tracing the social contract through domestic energy infrastructure in Pimlico, London” – new research paper published in the latest issue of the journal Economic Anthropology (PDF here). A presentation on the paper can be seen here.

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Citizens Advice District Heating research

20 January 2016: Citizens Advice research just published District Heating Networks: analysis of information request which found:
“There are an estimated 2,000 heat networks in the UK and with district heating schemes having been identified as one of the key technologies to decarbonise the heat we use in our homes and businesses this is set to increase.
At present there is very little available data on these existing district heating schemes making it difficult to assess how well they work in practice or whether they offer good value for their customers. There are many unanswered questions when it comes to the use of district heating for residential properties and without a central database of publicly accessible information questions about its applicability and affordability will remain.
Through the process of conducting this information request Citizens Advice has found the availability of information patchy at best and the fact that Local Authorities, through no fault of their own, don’t have sight of these systems is concerning.”

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