UK award-winning decentralized energy includes demand side schemes

The winners of this year’s UK Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) Awards included schemes that generated no energy ” heat or power ” at all. Previously the UK Combined Heat and Power Association, the organization always represented the related district heating (DH) sector and the ADE now also speaks for demand side services as well. Meanwhile, a low density district heating system which includes solar thermal among its heat sources won the overall Project of the Year Award.

The ADE’s awards ceremony was held last month at London’s Natural History Museum; itself home to a trigeneration (heat, power and cooling) system installed a decade ago by Vital Energi and responsible so far for energy cost savings of à‚£11 million (€13 million).

Each year, the winning schemes serve as a snapshot of best practice decentralized energy activity in the UK, which has seen a revival in new district heating schemes in recent years, including the highly visible CHP/DH scheme built to serve part of the Olympic site in East London in 2012 ” itself a winning scheme. Awards were made in seven categories.

Industrial Project of the Year

Unusually, the Industrial Award was won by two projects.

Open Energi’s efforts to manage electricity demand for its client, by adjusting the power input to over 200 electrically-heated bitumen tanks at asphalt plants across the UK, according to price conditions on the power market, was one winner. The technology is ideal for use with stored energy devices such as bitumen tanks because, although they need energy, as long as they operate between expected temperature limits it does not matter precisely when that energy is used.

Demand response comes into play during spikes in power demand, eg as millions of people across Britain put the kettle on to boil during popular TV advert breaks, and responding to these spikes rapidly is critical to ensure the grid is balanced and the lights don’t go out. Open Energi was praised for bringing its dynamic demand response technology into a new area of the industrial sector.

Viridor, the second winner in the industrial sector, was awarded the accolade for leading the way in industrial heat decarbonisation with its Runcorn Energy-from-Waste plant (pictured, right). One of the largest and most efficient CHP facilities of its kind in Europe and fully operational from April 2015, the 70 MW (electrical) and 51 MW (heat) scheme provides energy to a local chemicals company INEOS ChlorVinyls. Fuelled with pre-treated refuse derived fuel (RDF), the scheme also helps to address Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority’s requirement to avoid sending waste to landfill sites.

Homes and Communities Project of the Year

The winner of the Homes and Communities Award was E.ON for its Cranbrook and Skypark project, a 1.7 MW multi-source energy system supplying hot water and heat to homes and businesses through a district heating system. This project was so outstanding that it was also awarded the overall Project of the Year Award.

Cranbrook and Skypark (pictured, below right) is said to be the first DH scheme in the UK to serve a low-density housing client. The Devon scheme will eventually serve 3500 homes and a business park of commercial and industrial units, all connected to an energy centre which includes CHP, heat pumps, solar thermal, solar PV and gas boiler technologies. The project uses thermal storage technology to balance these sources against loads generated by the domestic, commercial and industrial clients.

Commercial/Public Sector Project of the Year

Veolia and the London Borough of Southwark were awarded the Commercial/Public Sector Award for their public-private partnership South East London CHP (SELCHP) project which, originally opened 20 years ago as an electricity-from-waste project, was pre-equipped to also provide heat to external clients, once these could be identified and connected. Now, SELCHP brings benefits to local communities in south-east London by delivering low carbon heat to around 2,700 properties managed by the Borough of Southwark.

The scheme burns wastes from London households and from some businesses; the generated electricity is exported to the national grid.

Consultancy Project of the Year

The Consultancy Project of the Year Award went to FairHeat for making both technical and social improvements to underperforming district heating schemes.

The company was appointed to diagnose and analyse the efficiency of a DH system serving social housing provider Octavia Housing’s Elizabeth House estate in London. It delivered a 68% reduction in network losses, allowing the housing provider to ensure the lowest possible heating tariff for its clients ” a 50% reduction.

Integrated Energy Award

E.ON and Edina were the joint winners of the Integrated Energy Award for their successful regeneration of a 20-year old CHP/district energy project (pictured, right) in the heart of the City of London. The Citigen scheme supplies electricity, heat and cooling to a community of mainly commercial buildings and many of the Corporation of London’s premises, saving 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Following a review of the performance of the existing plant, E.ON contracted Edina to install two new gas-fired engine generators with a total power generating capacity of 8 MW.

Innovation and Customer Engagement Awards

Another winner from the demand side was Restore, which scooped the Innovation Award for its ‘Flexpond’ software, a cloud-based platform that reduces energy costs for industrial energy users by commercialising flexible/reserve power arising from demand management.

Finally, the Customer Engagement Award was presented to Switch2 its work with Sheffield Council and 6000 tenants connected to the city’s district heating scheme. The company took on a huge customer engagement programme as part of managing the installation of a new district heating pay-as-you-go system.



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