DH Vanguard Projects

These summaries are a mixture of text written by Heat and the City and text written by officers in the Vanguard authorities. Dates in parentheses indicate when project summaries were written, as some details will have moved on.

Aberdeen (May 2012)

Development of District Heating in Aberdeen City Council was initially led by an energy officer in pursuit of the Council’s HECA Affordable Warmth Strategy. The council established Aberdeen Heat and Power (AH&P), a non-profit company limited by guarantee. AH&P has installed and operates three DH systems based on gas-fired CHP. These networks were installed successively, each being larger and with greater load diversity than its predecessor. The third network at Seaton currently serves sheltered housing, multi-storey council housing, a regional sports village and the local authority’s beach complex (leisure centre, ballroom and ice rink). The Scottish Government has grant funded a system extension into the city centre, which will come on line in September 2012 and connect a further four public buildings initially. Plans are underway to connect an Aquatic Centre including a 50m swimming pool and diving pool in 2014. Some electrical output from the CHP units is used for council buildings (such as Hazlehead Academy) with the rest being exported via a consolidator. Aberdeen residents pay a fixed weekly charge for heat with rent. Their household-level heat consumption is not metered.

The three networks were each financially supported by Community Energy Programme grants and funding from fuel utilities under the Energy Efficiency Commitment and its successors (CERT and CESP). Aberdeen City Council contributed finance from its Housing Capital Programme, Non-Housing Capital Programme and Central Energy Efficiency Fund, bringing forward future budget by prudential borrowing. AH&P also made use of a bank loan from the Cooperative Bank, with repayment underwritten by the council (which led to a low interest rate). AH&P currently provides heating and hot water to 22 multi storey blocks, 1 low rise sheltered housing scheme, 7 Council owned public buildings, and the Regional Sports Village.

Birmingham (May 2012)

Birmingham District Energy Company (BDEC) is a private limited company whose purpose is to design, build, finance, own and operate district energy schemes and to distribute and retail heat, cooling and power across Birmingham. Electricity is supplied via private wire network to larger users. BDEC is wholly-owned by Cofely Ltd but operates in partnership with Birmingham City Council and other major subscribers.

BDEC has constructed and operates three heat networks: Broad Street (connecting the International Conference Centre, National Indoor Arena, council buildings, a hotel, some social housing, a leisure and retail area and the new library), Eastside/Aston (serving Aston University and the Eastside regeneration area), and a third network serving the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the council’s offices at Lancaster Circus.

BDEC’s activities are financed by Cofely (along with a Community Energy Programme grant for the Broad Street scheme). Subscribers receive energy at lower cost than equivalent market supply, and founder members (the council, the conference centre, the indoor arena, Aston University, and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital) receive a profit share taken in the form of an energy rebate.

Bristol (July 2012)

Bristol City Council has recently launched a city-wide renewable energy and energy efficiency programme worth £140m which was enabled having secured a £2.5m grant from the European Investment Bank. There are three different project strands within the ELENA programme; one of which includes district heating.

An assessment of Bristol’s opportunities for district heating identified there is potential for several viable small and medium scale district heating installations. The District Heating Project aims to implement 3 district-heating networks within central Bristol and a further 3 in other areas of the city with high heat densities. The project is currently in the initial feasibility phase.

For any further information or queries about Bristol's activities, please contact Mareike Schmidt.

Cornwall (Sept 2011)

Traditionally district and community heating works best in urban areas where there is a high density heat demand and lots of anchor loads. Cornwall is the opposite of this and would not normally be considered an obvious location to pursue development of such schemes. Cornwall council has, however, been working for a few years now on developing a planning lead approach to developing heat networks in its towns that offer the greatest opportunity. It is developing a proactive planning policy framework to encourage both district and community heating and is producing heat network development plans to demonstrate deliverable projects. At the same time it is working to deliver schemes in partnership with private sector investors. It is at present procuring phase 1 of a steam (extending to lower grade heat) network in Pool and working closely with two organisations in Falmouth and Penryn to turn site specific aspirations into wider district schemes.

Croydon (Sept 2011)

Croydon's DE scheme is linked to the re-development of the town centre. The core of the scheme would be driven by a set of new-build developments delivered by the Local Asset Backed Vehicle (50:50 public/private) and a number of existing public sector anchor load buildings. The scheme would then extend to significant 3rd party developer sites. A comprehensive financial model has been developed for the scheme and the full Business Case is planned to go for Cabinet approval in November. The next stage would be an OJEU procurement for a commercial ESCo. In the initial phases the scheme is unlikely to achieve commercial rates of return; the council has allocated a portion of capital to plug this gap. In return the council would expect a fully open book contract with agreed profit-share once the scheme achieves higher rates of return. Section 106 agreements have already been drafted with the 3rd party developments to oblige connection to the scheme.

Edinburgh (March 2012)

Domestic properties covered by Services for Communities:

  1. A 212 property multi-storey block at Leith (Cables Wynd House) previously heated for hot water & heating by electricity has had a communal system installed with gas central boilers & individual heat-metering for residents. Residents are charged a flat weekly rate, initially set at £1/day, adjusted periodically to reflect individual annual consumption. This project was part funded by a CESP grant.
  2. The council has plans for a further communal/district heating scheme supplying two high-rise multis (Greendykes & Wauchope Houses). This project is also part funded by a CESP grant, and the council aims to have the system complete by Autumn 2012. 

CEC has other groups of multis - also intend to deliver similar schemes, once the first two are up/running & demonstrating cost savings to tenants (anticipated as being c50% compared to comparable running periods with electric systems).

Glasgow (July 2012)

A cluster of district heating projects are working towards a city wide development programme. This will be informed and assisted by a city level strategic district heating review to be undertaken by Glasgow City Council, Scottish Power and the Carbon Trust  - July to December 2012. This will build on the following existing initiatives:

Commonwealth Games Energy centre and district heating infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games Village, NISA and the Velodrome has started to be rolled out by Vital Energy. The project remains on track for completion in late 2013.

Clyde Gateway The Clyde Gateway initiative provides an opportunity to extend district heating from the Commonwealth Games site into parts of the Clyde Gateway area. Installation would be quicker and costs lower due to the pipes being installed at the same as other construction works.

Cube Housing Association Cube Housing Association district heating project on the Wyndford estate is expected to be completed in second half of 2012 - bringing district heating to 1527 homes (video).

City Centre North Technical analysis of a proposed City Centre North district heating zone has been commissioned by GCC and the Carbon Trust, and a detailed feasibility report by Arup is now complete. The City Centre North cluster could initially supply the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Strathclyde University, Glasgow Caledonian University, the City of Glasgow College and Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow City Council

Polmadie Waste to Energy Centre A preferred contracts  has been appointed and planning consent is now being sought for the plant to proceed. This facility is expected to produce significant surplus energy which can be used to support a proposed district heating scheme for an adjoining residential area. Expected to be operational in 2015.

Peel Energy Waste to Energy Centre (South Clyde Energy Centre) Peel Energy has applied for consent to build a 250,000 tonne waste to energy centre at Shieldhall on the south  bank of the River Clyde. There is potential to sell heat to the new Southern General Hospital, Hillington Industrial estate, and Braehead Shopping Centre. The project is expected to be operational in 2014.

EU funding: Elena bid Glasgow has submitted a bid to the European Investment Bank for ELENA funding which will help bring several key projects to investment readiness - including further district heating and energy efficiency measures. 

Hackney (July 2012)

Construction is underway on Hackney’s first council-owned CHP plant and heat network in the south of the borough (the Shoreditch Heat Network) which is due to go live in December 2012. Initially this will serve over 400 properties across three estates, but the council hopes to extend it over time, and is exploring opportunities to join up with Islington’s network in Bunhill. In addition, a number of private developments (including Dalston Square) now include CHP engines, and last year our leisure contractor GLL (now Better) installed one at Clissold Leisure Centre.  These can potentially form the basis for the development of heat networks over time. Finally, a new energy centre has been built adjacent to the borough boundary at Kings Yard to service the Olympic site; the council is in conversations with the operator (Cofely) to explore scope to extend their network westwards into residential parts of the borough.

Haringey (Sept 2011)

The Council has completed detailed feasibility studies for two district heating networks in the borough with support of the London Development Agency. In both cases, the studies identified a funding gap which would require grant funding.

The studies are based on the assumption that Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generated electricity is sold to the grid at a wholesale rate. If electricity from CHP could be sold at a retail price this could generate a return on investment sufficient to close the current grant funding gap and potentially attract private investment to deliver these schemes.

Acquiring a “Lite Supply Licence” would allow a district heating operator to sell electricity at retail rates to consumers with fewer risks and complexities. To date, no applications have been made for a Lite Licence due to uncertainty over the willingness of licensed suppliers to enter into the agreement required for the Lite Licence, along with the costs of developing the licence agreement and procuring a licensed supplier partner. This project will produce a draft Supplier Services Agreement contract and market testing of the contract will be taken forward by boroughs in 2011/12.

Project working group

  • North London sub-regional boroughs: (LB’s of Haringey, Islington, Camden, Hackney, Waltham Forest, and Enfield)
  • London Development Agency
  • Greater London Authority
  • Nabarro and Cornwall Energy (consultants)

Isle of Wight (July 2012)

Modelling of medium and long-term carbon reduction scenarios by the Isle of Wight Council has demonstrated the importance of district heating in achieving targets of 40%+ carbon reduction. This inspired the Council to commission a Heat Mapping Study which was completed by Grontmij in August 2010. The study identified those areas most suitable for district heating, taking into account existing housing, industrial and commercial buildings, potential new development and anchor loads, and formed the evidence-base for a new planning policy which was adopted in the Island’s Core Strategy in March 2012. The policy states that “proposals for developments containing 250 housing units, or having an aggregate domestic living area of greater than 18,000m², shall be expected to install community district heating systems that use low carbon heat sources”. It is hoped that the installation of DH systems in new developments will provide the stimulus for expansion into the existing building stock in neighbouring areas.

At the same time, the Council has approved the installation of a district heating system in the largest development on the Island, Pan Meadows, which will provide some 800 homes on the edge of Newport. The site was previously owned by the Council which stipulated that homes must be constructed to CSH Level 4. The energy requirements are being achieved, in the main, by a biomass district heating system which will be owned and operated by a community-owned ESCO with any surpluses being re-invested in local facilities.    

Islington (Sept 2011)

On 14 June 2011 Islington Council approved revised proposals for the Bunhill Energy Centre. Work has started on a local heat network to provide cheaper, greener heat to over 700 homes on several estates and buildings. The heat network will be fed by a local energy centre, producing electricity and heat. There will be strict monitoring of air quality.

When finished, hot water will be piped to the homes on the Stafford Cripps, Redbrick and St Luke's estates, and also supply Finsbury Leisure Centre and Ironmonger Row Baths.

Work is expected to start on site by the end of the 2011 and be completed in summer 2012 for the winter 2012/13 heating season. Heat networks are seen as helping future proof against volatile fuel supply prices, as otherwise wasted heat will be used to heat homes, leisure centres and other buildings across the borough. They also have flexibility to be supplied by a range of fuels (including bio-fuels) in future to take advantage of cheaper alternatives as they become available. Savings will be passed on to Islington residents and service providers.

Manchester (City of Manchester plus ten other Greater Manchester local authorities) (July 2012)

Greater Manchester's Climate Change Strategy sets out the aim to reduce the city region's carbon emissions by 48% by 2020, from 1990 levels. Of this 8 million tonne reduction target, approximately 700,000 tonnes could be achieved through the deployment of heat networks. 

A coordinated programme of heat network activity in Greater Manchester is currently being developed to enable projects to move from concept to delivery more quickly than if they were developed individually. Through establishing a shared approach to project development and procurement, it is estimated that the costs for this work can be reduced from 10% of total capital value down to 5% for each project. Working at this scale across multiple projects also enables an attractive proposition to be prepared for discussion with potential delivery partners and investors. 

The programme is currently made up of eleven potential heat network schemes, split into phases based on their stage of development. Six projects have been included in Phase 1, with a view to establishing a stream-lined project development and procurement process which can subsequently be used by Phases 2+. Work is currently underway to secure funding for the development of Phase 1, with a view to having contracts with delivery partners in place by 2016 at the latest. 

Newcastle (Sept 2011)

Newcastle City Council have 2 district heating schemes at present, one is a new installation at Riverside Dene and one at least 20 years old at Byker that is under review for upgrade at the moment. There are also a number of small schemes which serve residential blocks of up to 40 units in one building. A new development of approx 1800 dwellings is being delivered in the city and a district heating scheme will be installed to service this development. Newcastle City Council is a strong supporter of district heating with an aspiration to link the smaller heating schemes into a citywide ESCO in the future.

Plymouth (Sept 2011)

The Plymouth District Energy Partnership has been formed between Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Plymouth, as the key partners providing the initial anchor loads to procure an ESCo, who would bring in the investment, deliver, manage, maintain and expand a District Energy Network in Plymouth. This builds on extensive work carried out to establish the areas of the city where District Energy represents the best option for achieving future Building Regulations and carbon savings (mainly driven by key growth areas and new development), but also subsequent work to evaluate the commercial feasibility of establishing an ESCo (mainly based around existing 'anchor loads' to establish catalyst schemes). A Soft Market Testing exercise has been completed, demonstrating significant private sector interest and over 7 potential bidders. The Partnership are meeting later in September to review the findings, and hopefully confirm their continued engagement in (and formalisation of) the procurement partnership and commence the formal OJEU procurement stage. Discussions with other public sector partners (or customers) can then also be advanced.

Plymouth City Council’s ESCo feasibility study completed in 2009 identifies Devonport, Derriford and the City Centre as areas which would benefit from district energy. These areas are considered under Plymouth’s Local Development Framework Area Action Plans, in which there is a need to develop integrated sustainable energy strategies for the period up to 2026.

Renfrewshire (Sept 2011)

Renfrewshire Council has two operating community heating systems. The Calside Court system feeds three multi-storeys of 90 flats each from a gas fired unit. The George Street system is fired from a number of small community gas boilers. Tenants are levied charges with their rent which were not reviewed on a regular basis. Therefore operating costs are not currently covered by revenue. The council has commissioned a technical survey of existing systems and aims to move to a long term financially sustainable solution. Consultants will make a presentation on their initial findings on the 19th Sept. The council does not consider problems with existing schemes to be unsurmountable and considers the ESCO set up in Aberdeen is a potential model to which it would aspire to resolve existing problems.

Sheffield (Sept 2011)

Sheffield has one of the largest district energy networks in the UK, with a 47km network across the City Centre.

Key facts:

  • Fuel Feed rate: 225,000 t/a local municipal waste
  • Electrical Capacity: ~20 MWe for National Grid Thermal Capacity: 60 MWth for district heating System
  • Back-Up: 3 stand-by boilers (84.6 MW capacity)
  • Heat Delivered: 120,000 MWh/a
  • CO2 Mitigated: 21,000 t/a
  • Connected Sites: ~3000 residences and 140 other buildings (including shops, offices and both universities) 

The city council is actively working with E.ON to develop a district energy network in the east of Sheffield through the Don Valley connecting the City Centre, the industrial heartland of the Don Valley in to Rotherham. A 17km network has been outlined in principle fuelled by a 30MW woodfuel biomass plant to be built and commissioned in 2012/13. The City Council commissioned The University of Sheffield's world renowned Waste Incineration Centre to produce a detailed heat map of the City identifying both heat sources and demand. 6 heat zones have been identified for further feasibility work to be undertaken. Lead contact: Andy Nolan, Director of Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Service, Sheffield City Council, Rm 4.039, Howden House, 1 Union St, Sheffield, S1 2SH Tel: 0114 20 52972 ; email: andy.nolan@sheffield.gov.uk , PA: Liz Ginty - andynolanpa@sheffield.gov.uk

Southwark (July 2012)

3,000 homes across five estates in Southwark are due to be connected to a heat network, bringing low carbon heat from the nearby South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) energy recovery facility. Approximately 2.5 km of pipework will deliver around 44GWh/year to council tenants and leaseholders, creating considerable energy bill savings. The network will be entirely financed by Veolia who will also operate the system under contract with the council until 2033. The five estates already have communal heating systems (with gas boilers), operated by the council, which the Veolia network will feed into. Peak demand on the new network is estimated to be around 17MW of SELCHP’s 40MW heat capacity.

A key feature of Southwark’s project development has been community engagement. This has helped ensure the network route is sensitive to local concerns about disruption, and has generated support among the residents who will receive heat. While reduced fuel bills are obviously important to residents, the scheme’s positive impacts on local pollution (reducing NOx emissions by around 2t per year) and global pollution (reducing CO2 emissions by 8,000 to 10,000t per year) are also of interest to and regarded positively by residents. The scheme is planned to start operating in 2013.

Woking (Sept 2011)

District heating in Woking is developed and operated by Thameswey Energy Ltd, a joint venture between Xergi (a Danish energy services company) and Thameswey, a company wholly owned by Woking Borough Council. A 1.3MWe gas CHP town centre scheme supplies private wire electricity, heat and chilled water to buildings including two hotels, a conference centre and the civic offices with plans to connect a shopping centre and a theatre (2011). The Woking Park system takes heat from a 1.1MWe gas CHP, and was the site for a pilot hydrogen fuel cell (0.2MWe) until 2008. In addition a number of small (<50kWe) CHP and PV systems serve sheltered housing and community buildings. Thameswey Energy Ltd also develops and operates a DH network in Milton Keynes (via a subsidiary company), with a 6MWe CHP unit.

Thameswey operates on commercial terms. Profits generated by it and its share of it subsidiaries profits are reinvested by the council in sustainability within the Borough of Woking.

Woking Borough Council (WBC)’s creation of and investment in Thameswey in 1999 represented a scaling up of activities which had begun in 1992 with a £250,000 rolling energy efficiency fund. Grant funding has been used in the development of the organisational form, to extend heat and private wire electricity networks to domestic heat connections, and in development of the Milton Keynes system. The debt finance element of Thameswey’s projects is initially provided by a commercial lender, and as projects develop this debt is transferred into loans from Woking Borough Council, provided at commercial rates but financed through Public Works Loan Board borrowing. The difference in interest rates is taken by WBC as general revenue.

Other Vanguard Authorities

  • Brighton and Hove
  • Camden
  • Coventry
  • Crawley
  • Dundee
  • Exeter
  • Fife
  • Gateshead
  • Greenwich
  • Hampshire
  • Huntingdonshire
  • Leeds
  • Nottingham
  • Southampton
  • St Edmonsbury
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sutton
  • Swansea
  • Swindon
  • Warrington

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