Welcome to Better Energy Blog, the leading conversation on how the UK should deliver a consumer focused, secure, low carbon and affordable energy system.
Claire provides day to day management of the Association’s communications including the website, news, press release and social media. Claire is also responsible for aiding in the delivery of the communications strategy which is geared towards enhancing engagement with members and stakeholders. Claire holds a Masters degree in Environmental Governance and previously worked as a sales manager for a biomass company. In her spare time Claire enjoys competing at national level with her cheerleading team.
DECC have released their energy trends special feature on combined heat and power. Here's an overview of the headlines from the year (2012-2013).
There was a net increase of 59 schemes, taking the total to more than 2000 in the UK
Capacity remained stable with a tiny decrease of 5MWe in good quality CHP.
However the percentage of renewable fuel rose from 7% to 10% with West Midlands leading the way with a staggering 34% of total fuel used being from renewable sources!
Natural gas now makes up 67% of fuel use (a 4% decrease.)
The North West also had a good year with a 'noticeable growth' in combined heat and power thanks to additional capacity being built in the paper sector. The North West also lead the way in heat generation, with their share of 22%!
Yorkshire and Humber continued to lead the pack, making up 24% of total electricity generation.
The CHPA were delighted to play host to the Danish District Heating Association last week as they toured Europe to learn from some of the most innovative district heating projects. The delegates heard presentations from DECC who provided an overview of the policy landscape and from the CHPA who discussed their work on district heating and the Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme.
Islington Council provided a background on the Bunhill district heat network before taking the delegates on a tour of the site.
Guest blogger Ian Hopkins, Sales and Marketing Director for ENER-G Combined Power tells us how recent changes to the way in which BREEAM awards credits impacts CHP and how NOx emissions should be calculated.
The internationally renowned Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method for non-domestic and new constructions (BREEAM) was reviewed this year with significant changes in the energy category. The changes have implications for combined heat and power (CHP) says Ian Hopkins, Sales and Marketing Director for ENER-G Combined Power.
A high BREEAM assessment score gives you, the developers, designers and building managers, a credible demonstration of the environmental performance of your commercial or industrial buildings.
The new BREEAM assessment no longer specifies a level of renewable energy sources because that is addressed specifically in the latest building regulations. Reflecting this, the number of available BREEAM credits under carbon reduction has been reduced from 15 to 12 - shifting the weighting of energy impacts in BREEAM from 19% of the entire rating to 15%.
A building’s energy performance rating under BREEAM is now calculated using the building regulations of the country where the building is located. This replaces the notional baseline used previously regardless of the building’s UK location.
BREEAM energy performance credits are based on a building’s heating and cooling energy demand, primary energy consumption and total carbon dioxide emissions – all areas where CHP can have an impact. These are compared with the relevant national building regulations baseline to give an Energy Performance Ratio (EPR). The calculation should be determined by an accredited energy assessor using software approved under the National Calculation Methodology for the relevant country:
Down to zero
BREEAM assessment credits for conducting feasibility studies for low and zero carbon (LZC) measures – which include CHP - fall under a new category: low carbon design. This is to ensure that a thorough review of LZC informs the building design at an early stage.
Where CHP is involved, an LZC study should include:
■ Energy from the CHP.
■ CHP carbon dioxide savings.
■ CHP cost accounting for payback.
■ Planning criteria, including land use and noise.
■ Feasibility of exporting heat/electricity.
■ Any available grants.
■ All appropriate, optional energy technologies.
■ Reasons for excluding other technologies.
■ Where appropriate, connecting the proposed building to an existing local community source of heat or power.
■ Specifying the CHP with the potential to export excess heat or power.
A heat map for the UK is available for this. More detailed maps are often available locally.
NOx emissions are pollutant gases which are formed by the combustion fossil fuels. These gases are considered hazardous to human health and the ecosystem. For the purpose of BREEAM, NOx emissions levels are required in units -mg/kWh and measured at 0% oxygen levels on a dry basis.
For CHP technology, it is only necessary to consider the heat-related nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions towards the BREEAM pollution abatement score. The methodology determines the net NOx emissions from the CHP’s electricity generation compared with electricity generation from the grid and allocates this amount to the heat generation of the CHP, which is then compared with the benchmark scale.
Heat-related NOx in mg/kWhheat can be obtained by using the following formula:(X) = (A - B) / C
X = NOx emissions per unit of heat supplied (mg/kWhheat)
A = NOx emissions per unit of electricity generated (mg/kWhelec) by the CHP Unit
B = NOx if the full load was emissions per unit of electricity supplied from the grid - 617 (mg/kWhelec)
(Note: The Grid Electricity figure under the previous BREEAM-2011 Guide was 750 mg/kWhelec)
C = Ratio of heat to electricity output of the CHP unit
Note: Where the value of ‘X’ is calculated to be negative, it should be assumed to be zero.
The heat-related component is then compared with the scale to determine the credit score.
Calculating NOx emission levels where CHP is operating is conjunction with other heating systems, an average NOx emission rate is to be used on the ratio or power output from each of the heating source, i.e. simply multiply the emissions of each system by the percentage of heat demand it supplies and then total these values. This is usually the case at most of the sites where the CHP system has been sized to meet the base energy (electricity/heating) demand and therefore a secondary system (usually boilers) is required. The following formula can be used for such cases:
Average NOx Emission Rate = (N1 x (H1/HT)) + (N2 x (H2/HT)) + …… + (Nn x (Hn/HT))
N1 = NOx emission rate for heat source 1
N2 = NOx emission rate for heat source 2
Nn = NOx emission rate for heat source n
HT = Total heat output from all sources
H1 = Heat Output from Source 1
H2 = Heat Output from Source 2
Hn = Heat Output from Source n
NOx Emissions for heating and hot water (mg/kWhheat)
Non-industrial (all building types)
Non-industrial (all building types)
Non-industrial (all building types)
Discover more about preparing for CHP with your free eGuide: CHP project planning: Assessing planning and regulatory issues
In the news this week Boris Johnson, Mayor of London warned that population growth in London could cause blackouts in the not too distant future. His solution? A £210m investment in substations.
The Mayor’s new London Infrastructure Plan outlined that unprecedented growth in certain areas of London had pushed substations to their capacity and that there is now an urgent need to upgrade so that potential investment can be unlocked for these development areas.
It is clear that this investment is needed, but is there more that we can be doing to keep the cost of the transformation of our energy system to a minimum?
In a live interview with BBC London Radio’s Breakfast Show, CHPA Director Tim Rotheray explains;
“When people talk about energy they often think about electricity but, electricity is only part of the energy we use. Half of our energy demand is heat, we need to think about the energy we use holistically so we can find the most cost effective way of meeting consumers’ needs.”
He suggests that by creating more user participation in the system we can reduce the amount that needs to be invested in infrastructure and have a more secure energy supply.
Rotheray highlighted the recent case study from Royal Festival Hall who engaged with National Grid in an experiment to see if at times of peak system demand the Hall could control its own demand to reduce stress on the system. When needed the Hall turned off its air conditioning units, with very limit impact on the ambient temperature or performances. The trial was deemed a success.
Boris plans for 25% of London’s energy needs to be produced locally by 2025, what we need to consider now is how heat can form part of the solution to the electricity capacity crunch.
One way in which heat production can support electricity capacity is through the use of combined heat and power. The supply can be tailored to the consumer, it does not require billions of pounds of investment upfront, unlike the cost of building new nuclear and gas fired power stations, and it can support the grid in times of stress by allowing companies to switch from taking electricity from the grid, to using CHP, or by switching on to supply extra capacity to the grid.
There are intelligent ways that we can tackle the capacity crunch that could be far cheaper and put more power into the hands of the consumer; substations are not the only option.
Guest blogger Ian Hopkins, Sales and Marketing Director for ENER-G Combined Power tells us why CHP remains on the front line as a way to boost environmental performance scores under BREEAM despite 'major change' to the energy category of the assessment.
A revised environmental scorecard for buildings still values CHP, despite lower weighting for energy efficiency.
TheBuilding Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method(BREEAM) is a means devised by consultancy, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), to score the performance of non-domestic buildings under a range of environmental and sustainability criteria.
It covers nine areas, including building management, water use, transport issues and - crucially for combined heat and power considerations - energy and carbon emissions. Its aim is to go beyond regulatory obligations and keep in step with advances in technology and best practice.
BREEAM is highly rated by developers, designers and building managers as a way to demonstrate the environmental credentials of their buildings.
Its scoring system is “transparent, flexible, easy to understand and supported by evidence-based science and research,” according to its deviser BRE. BREEAM has been reviewed for a second time this year - the first time since 2008. Inevitably, there are significant changes to energy assessment.
Fundamentally the new scoring system has changed little. Credits are gained by outstripping a baseline building standard. Each section has an environmental weighting. The total of the weighted scores is translated into one of five ratings from “pass” to “outstanding.”
Change in climate
One area of “major change", according to BRE, is in the energy category.
The 2014 revision has ended the use of a single energy performance baseline throughout the UK. BREEAM will now use the national building regulations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to set a baseline for each of the devolved administrations. (Note - Previously, under BREEAM 2011 the Part L 2010 notional building was used as the baseline for all buildings assessed under BREEAM, regardless of their UK country location).
Another change is the end of a requirement - under the former low or zero carbon (LZC) technologies section (Ene04) - that some of the building’s energy was from renewable sources.
That obligation is now addressed in recently beefed up building regulations. Following on from those changes are:
● The weighting for energy under BREEAM has been reduced from 19% to 15%.
● The number of credits available under the reduction of energy use and carbon emission section (Ene01) has been cut from 15 to 12.
● LZC credit has been replaced with a Low Carbon Design credit that favours energy conservation from the building’s fabric. But there remains credit for an LZC feasibility study for a proposed building and implementation of its findings. In further detail, the section Ene04- Low Carbon Design has a total of 3 credits. And the section is split into two parts – 1) Passive Design (2 Credits) 2) Low or Zero Carbon Technologies (1 Credit). LZC percentage carbon reduction targets (which were part of BREEAM-2011- Ene-04 LZC issue) have now been removed from the new version.
● The weighting for Pollution remains unchanged at 10% and NOx emissions were reviewed, but no changes in NOx levels or credits were made.
Although each credit under ENE01 is now worth less, the criteria for acquiring them are basically unchanged, so achieving excellent is no more or less difficult.
For CHP compliance with the Low Carbon Design criteria it is necessary to consider:
● Annual energy generated from CHP
● Life cycle cost of the CHP including payback
● Local planning criteria, including land use and noise
● Feasibility of exporting heat and electricity
● Available grants
● All appropriate LZC technologies and reasons for excluding any of them
You should also consider possibilities for:
● Connecting the proposed building to an existing community CHP system or source of waste heat or power.
● Specifying a CHP system or source of heat or power waste, with the potential to export excess heat or power via a local community energy scheme.
Ian Hopkins is the Sales and Marketing Director at ENER-G Combined Power. For more useful guidance, check out ENER-G Combined Power’s free e-magazine “Regenerate” is out. Click here to read it.
- The oldest district heating scheme dates back to the 1300s when a village in France set up a network of wooden pipes to distribute warm water from a geothermal source. 700 years later and the UK is just catching up with plans for the UK's first geothermal district heating scheme announced this year.
- The more modern version of district heating was invented by Birdsill Holly in 1877. Holly designed a system that used a central boiler to generate steam that was then pumped to homes and commercial properties connected together by a pipe network running along several main streets in the US town of Lockport.
- Here in the UK, district heating became a popular choice for use in high rise buildings and saw a boom during the 60s and 70s.
- Now, the UK has around 2,000 heat networks that connected around 210,000 homes and 1,700 businesses – a little under 2% of all properties in the UK.
- With support from the Government, the technology is set to make a comeback, with over 50 local authorities and counting looking into the feasibility of heat networks in their area.
- Stats from DECC show that there is a significant opportunity for district heating in the UK, with potential as big as 20% by 2030 and 40% by 2050.
The World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events on the planet, but why does an intense penalty shoot out being played in Brazil mean that UK businesses may need to support the national power grid?
The solar eclipse of 1999 saw the strongest grid surge in British history. As the sun began to reappear, the cumulative effect of people going back to their daily tasks, all at the same time, saw an electricity demand surge of 3,000MW in the space of just a few minutes; the equivalent of an extra 4 million people demanding electricity from the system.
15 years later, the intricate forecasting of system stress events continue to play an unseen but integral role in keeping the lights on.
To understand what electricity demand on the system may be like during this summer's World Cup, National Grid have surveyed the population to see who will be watching, looked at data from other events like the Olympic Games and the Royal Wedding to see how the demand for electricity changed, and watched countless hours of football games; all to make sure Britain's lights – and televisions – will stay on.
Even small decisions and details, like how much extra time is awarded and the emotions that players express during the match, can change the way electricity is used in the home.
So what happens during a surge?
Electricity on the grid comes from various different sources, which all have varying flexibility, cost and carbon impact.
For power generation, hydro-electric power stations are by far the quickest to respond, taking about 10 seconds to ramp up, in comparison to nuclear, which can take 48 hours; that's a long time to wait for a cup of tea!
National Grid have the job of mixing and matching these different sources to ensure that there is enough supply to meet demand while you're watching the match.
But with about 20% of the UK's traditional power stations due to close by 2020, National Grid have sought out flexible, innovative ways to match supply and demand.
Businesses helping to keep the lights on
Demand side response (DSR) helps to do just that. Across the country, thousands of industrial and commercial electricity customers will soon be able to help keep the lights, and the television, on.
Businesses that have the flexibility to reduce the amount of electricity they need, by turning off equipment or by using back-up generators (like gas engines or combined heat and power) can now sign up to a scheme to help National Grid manage demand and keep the lights on.
At times when the power generation struggles to meet demand (so called system stress) for example during popular events, or on a very cold and dark, winter night, businesses signed up to the scheme will receive an alert from National Grid to reduce the electricity demand of their site; and in return, they will be paid for this reduction in demand. This demand shift can be immediate, providing very fast responses at times of a few seconds.
This kind of activity is often called smart grid energy because by reducing demand and using existing electricity generating equipment we can avoid building new power stations. All this means that the UK's lights stay on at a lower cost to the consumer.
So next time you and 1.1 million other people reach for the kettle after the match, just think what lengths National Grid and their team of analysts, power stations and now businesses are going to, for you to be able to flick that switch.
We would like to welcome you to the CHPA’s new blog, Better Energy.
This blog is devoted to our vision of a more local and less wasteful energy system, an energy system that is dictated by the consumers’ needs rather than have their needs dictated to them.
The UK is at an important crossroads as it transitions to a low-carbon world, with increasing pressures on how we can do so in the most cost-effective way. If we are to deliver on our low-carbon vision, we will need to turn our existing centralised approach on its head, completely rethink how we deliver energy, and put the consumer at the heart of energy policy to create a sustainable and efficient energy system for the future. We hope this blog will help support and ferment new ideas to help us achieve this enormous challenge.
We welcome your participation and input. If you are interested in writing a guest blog, please do not hesitate to contact Claire Wych at Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org