Heat Event: Summary & Presentations

Howard Smith, Dextco and ECC

Dextco is proposing a combined heat and power network, covering the two hospital sites, City Centre new developments, St Lukes with maybe an extension to County Hall, the prison and the University of Exeter. Interlinking housing could be connected to the network but it is a lot of work to link individual homes and this is not planned at the moment. The network consists mainly of large energy users, i.e. the hospital, who need to replace their existing boiler system anyway. The estimated cost investment required by the hospital is expected to be just a little under what they would need to invest for a new boiler anyway. Funding has come from 106 funding and HNDU so far. The overall cost is expected to be £18 million with funding from partners, developers and HNDU and HNIP plus energy purchase agreements. This is a low carbon solution because one large CHP replaces many often old inefficient gas boilers. The conversion to CHP as a network will provide the groundwork for maybe utilising future renewables technology as it advances and becomes more widely available.

This will go out to procurement later this year.

Download a copy of Dextco’s presentation.

Kathy Smyth, Springbok Sustainable Heat Co-op

In 2014/2015 the Springbok Co-operative raised a total of £425,000 through two community share offers and between November 2014 and June 2015 to install a district heating system to supply heat and hot water to various residential buildings on the estate this included a new boiler house and underground fuel silo were built and three heat mains with a combined length of just over half a kilometre were buried underground.
The heat customers including Care Ashore pay the co-op for heat and the Renewable Heat Incentive is also being claimed.

Springbok Estate was a good location for such a project because as well as being off gas grid it is located in one of the most heavily wooded areas of England and the system is run on locally produced wood chip. The Co-op is currently supplied with local wood chip by South East Wood Fuels but hoped to be self sufficient in the future. The heating had been supplied by about 20 oil boilers, some of which were quite old. In particular the main resident of the Estate, Care Ashore, a charity, needed to replace its ageing boilers. Care Ashore runs a charitable home for retired and some serving seafarers so the heat load is high.

Download a copy of Sprinbok Co-Operative’s presentation.

Tim Crook, Regen SW

Overview of government policy showed that little is expected to be done during the next two years or so, whilst the focus is on Brexit. It is unlikely that there will be any more solar initiatives. The RHI offer possibilities for community energy project funding and are the best option at present.

The energy strategy is awaited and has been in progress since 2011. A prospective date of release is this autumn.

Download a copy of Tim’s update on government policy presentation.

Gill Wyatt, ECOE

ECOE have investigated a few possibilities including heating options for County Hall. It was found a combined heat and power was the most financially viable but DCC decided they were not willing to work with a third party for something like heat. Current possibilities being investigated are a heat network with Guinness Trust for social housing in the off-gas-grid area of Exwick. Also being considered,in the same area, is a small heat network for Costcutters and Exwick Community Centre which could include some of the nearby social housing.

ECOE are also in talks with a community centre and Spar shop (all in one building) regarding a heat project. The Spar is interested but she has not been able to get an answer from the community centre, despite many attempts.

ECOE are also discussing the possibility of a heat project at the Phoenix Arts Centre in Exeter, which is owned by Exeter City Council. Both the Phoenix and ECC are positive about the project, which would be in the form of a CHP boiler to replace the existing older inefficient boiler but there is a question over whether it would be large enough to be financially viable.

Jon Selman, Plymouth Energy Community

PEC has been investigating several possibilities with schools either off gas-grid or with exisiting biomass that is not working or with old and inefficient gas boilers. Investigation is continuing but with RHI as low as it is for biomass now financial feasibility is questionable.

Deciding on heat loads is difficult and can make it hard to decide on whether a project is feasible. When there is an existing biomass boiler with faults this underlines the strong necessity for projects to be well planned and installated and have effective O & M in place. The school had stopped using the biomass because of these issues. The back-up boilers had been built into the main system so that it was never getting up enough power and poor quality woodchip had damaged the system.