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The ADE member ENER-G have curated a fantastic collection of articles and guides over the past year creating a sizeable resource for learning more about combined heat and power in different settings. Here is a comprehensive list of topics they have covered! Click the title to read more.
A recent speech by former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson followed by an article from Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker, urged an increased role for demand management and combined heat and power to more cost-effectively deliver a low-carbon, secure energy system, while lower business energy costs.
CHP's value arises from it capturing and using heat that is otherwise wasted in cooling towers and demand response by moving demand away from times of high demand (and higher pollution) to times of lower demand.
What was curious was that the support for these technologies was linked with scrapping the Climate Change Act. But it is not the Climate Change Act that prevents us using more cost effective emissions reductions tools like CHP and demand response. It is the way we make energy policy.
In fact, the Climate Change Act should drive uptake of efficiency measures and more cost-effective carbon abatement. But instead, time and time again, the most cost-effective options for more secure, lower carbon energy are missed in favour of old, simple approaches: More centralised plant, more generation. In fact, a DECC research paper this year found a number of ways that the most cost-effective demand-side options are often missed in policy making.
And this waste of money continues to occur. Despite DECC’s analysis showing that supporting CHP would reduce consumer and taxpayer costs by millions of pounds, there is a very real risk they will not support the policy, despite a commitment to do so in the 2013 Heat Strategy.
And despite demand side response providing the most cost-effective way to provide the flexible capacity the grid needs, DECC’s designed their Capacity Market scheme around building new, expensive power plants.
Consumers are looking to Government to ensure we are achieving our goals in the most cost-effective way. We need to decarbonise and, if we are to retain the support of voters, we must do so at lowest cost.
In order to change this broken record and a long history of doing things more expensively than we need to, a new Government should rebuild taxpayer and consumer trust by committing to meet our energy policy aims for a secure, decarbonised system at best value. At the CHPA, we call this commitment a ‘Consumer Value Guarantee’.
Under the Consumer Value Guarantee, Ministers would be required to test all energy policies, as part of their Impact Assessments, against alternative demand side options. If a proposal is to build more of a particular generation technology, Ministers would have to compare the cost and benefits of doing something different, such as investing in better building efficiency, and force ministers to ask “Is this the most cost-effective way for us to meet our commitments?”
By taking a new approach, opportunities like demand response, demand reduction, heat networks, waste heat recovery and yes, CHP, will be able to compete on their respective merits and against the only metric which should matter: How we meet our commitments in the Climate Change Act for least cost.
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.