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HS2 could provide green energy to hundreds of new homes

In an innovative first, engineers developing the HS2 super-hub at Old Oak Common in north west London are proposing plans to tap heat from the brakes and engines of high speed trains to heat water and power central heating of up to 500 new homes that could be built nearby.

The scheme would see 5 air source heat pumps draw warm air from the railway’s tunnels, where the waste heat from trains is usually extracted by traditional ventilation systems and seeps into the ground surrounding the tunnels.

Instead HS2 Ltd’s plans would see waste heat fed into a local District Heating System. The new HS2 station at Old Oak Common is set to be the UK’s best connected rail interchange, with an estimated 250,000 people passing through every day. It will help kick-start the UK’s largest regeneration project, which aims to transform the former railway and industrial area, into a new neighbourhood supporting up to 65,000 jobs and 25,500 new homes*.

HS2 innovation manager, Pablo García, said:

HS2 is so much more than a railway. By taking a long term view of how the benefits of investing in the new high speed railway can be shared, we’re investigating how to provide sustainable, low-carbon heating and hot water to up to 500 new homes.

Near Old Oak Common we’re building a crossover box. This is an underground hall that houses a points junction to enable trains to arrive and depart from any of the station’s platforms.

Our plans would see warm air pushed into the crossover box by trains, in effect acting like pistons. It then rises to be harnessed by air source heat pumps, converted into hot water and transported to homes by insulated pipes.

Aerial view of Old Oak Common

Old Oak Common’s crossover box is capable of supporting waste heat recovery technology.

Based on current energy price forecasts, HS2 estimates that the investment in waste heat recycling system would pay for itself after just 4 years.

Compared to gas boilers being used in the homes, recycling heat generated by trains’ engines and brakes could reduce the carbon footprint of 500 houses by more than a fifth (22%).

Plans are at an early stage but the technology is proven. As the project progresses HS2 Ltd will work with local partners to make this aspiration a reality.

Pablo explained how Old Oak Common’s crossover box is the only place on HS2’s first section between London and the West Midlands capable of supporting waste heat recovery technology, but there may be further opportunities on the high speed network’s Leeds and Manchester routes.

Our study focused on possible Phase One opportunities because its designs are most advanced. Designs for the second phase of the railway are at an earlier stage, and we hope to look at whether waste heat recovery technology could be deployed there too.

Currently more than 1,000 people are at work on HS2 across London, clearing the way for the start of construction.

At Euston and the future HS2 terminus at Curzon Street in Birmingham demolitions are well underway alongside the project’s pioneering archaeology programme. Meanwhile clearance of the Washwood Heath site, the Birmingham location of the project’s future network control centre and rolling stock depot, is also in full swing.

In total more than 7,000 jobs are currently supported by the HS2 project, both directly and in the UK-wide supply chain.

Cyient Selected by UK Power Networks to Develop an Outage Planning Portal

Cyient, a global provider of engineering, manufacturing, geospatial, networks, digital, and operations management solutions to global industry leaders, will execute a project for UK Power Networks, the UK’s largest electricity distribution network operator. As part of the innovation project, called “Network Vision”, Cyient will develop an online outage planning and tracking integration portal that will help optimize distributed energy generation performance and deliver cost savings of as much as £1 million per year.

Planning network downtime is a complex process that involves balancing competing factors, making it necessary to interrupt power supplies on parts of the electricity network so engineers can undertake maintenance, upgrades and other tasks safely.

Cyient’s solution development team is working in collaboration with UK Power Networks to design and build the outage planning and tracking portal from the ground up. This will allow UK Power Networks to automate current processes and streamline how upgrades and maintenance tasks are scheduled.

Network Vision will give local energy generators – including renewable generation – visibility of planned work so they have the option to coordinate their own maintenance at the same time as the electricity network’s maintenance operations, and so minimize downtime.

Reducing downtime helps maximise the potential of renewable energy to feed into local electricity networks and could enable an extra 1080 MWh of renewable generation per year, saving 344 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That’s the equivalent effect of planting 172,000 trees (a forest 2.5 times the size of the City of London) every year.

John Renard, President of Utilities and Geospatial, and President of EMEA, Cyient said, “We are excited to be working with UK Power Networks on this innovative and revolutionary project that will enable utilities to change the way they manage their networks.”

“UK Power Networks has listened to what its stakeholders in the distributed energy community have said and responded with this project as a direct solution to their requests. It will give customers the ability to harmonize their plans with the network and ensure greater efficiency on network capacity.”

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “The rapid growth of renewable energy in recent years means that our customers are changing and want us to respond to the needs they highlighted at our Distributed Generation Forums. We’re excited to improve the service we offer them and to share our learnings so that all networks can also benefit.”

Offshore wind energy revolution to provide a third of all UK electricity by 2030

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced today the launch of the new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal.

  • Industry to invest £250 million including new Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to develop the UK supply chain as global exports are set to increase fivefold to £2.6 billion by 2030
  • a third of British electricity set to be produced by offshore wind power by 2030
  • part of the government’s ambition to make the UK a global leader in renewables with more investment potential than any other country in the world as part of the modern Industrial Strategy

Clean, green offshore wind is set to power more than 30% of British electricity by 2030, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced today (7 March 2018) with the launch of the new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal.

This deal will mean for the first time in UK history there will be more electricity from renewables than fossil fuels, with 70% of British electricity predicted to be from low carbon sources by 2030 and over £40 billion of infrastructure investment in the UK.

This is the tenth Sector Deal from the modern Industrial Strategy signed by Business Secretary Greg Clark. It is backed by UK renewables companies and marks a revolution in the offshore wind industry, which 20 years ago was only in its infancy. It could see the number of jobs triple to 27,000 by 2030.

The deal will also:

  • increase the sector target for the amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects to 60%, making sure that the £557 million pledged by the government in July 2018 for further clean power auctions over the next ten years will directly benefit local communities from Wick to the Isle of Wight
  • spearhead a new £250 million Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to make sure UK companies in areas like the North East, East Anglia, Humber and the Solent and continue to be competitive and are leaders internationally in the next generation of offshore wind innovations in areas such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, new materials, floating wind and larger turbines
  • boost global exports to areas like Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States fivefold to £2.6 billion per year by 2030 through partnership between the Department of Trade and industry to support smaller supply chain companies to export for the first time
  • reduce the cost of projects in the 2020s and overall system costs, so projects commissioning in 2030 will cost consumers less as we move towards a subsidy free world
  • see Crown Estate & Crown Estate Scotland release new seabed land from 2019 for new offshore wind developments
  • UK government alongside the deal will provide over £4 million pounds for British business to share expertise globally and open new markets for UK industry through a technical assistance programme to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines skip dirty coal power and develop their own offshore wind projects

Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister said:

This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.

By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.

The Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK Country Manager for Offshore, Benj Sykes, said:

Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future.

This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower Chief Executive, said:

ScottishPower is proof that offshore wind works, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring down costs and, having transitioned to 100% renewable energy, will be building more windfarms to help the UK shift to a clearer electric economy. Two of our offshore windfarms in the East Anglia will replace all of the old thermal generation we’ve sold and we are ready to invest more by actively pursuing future offshore projects both north and south of the border.

We have a fantastic supply chain already in place in the UK, from businesses in and around East Anglia to across England, across Scotland as well as Northern Ireland. The Sector Deal will attract even more businesses in the UK to join the offshore wind supply chain and we are excited to see the transformative impact this will have on our projects.

In addition, the deal will:

  • challenge the sector to more than double the number of women entering the industry to at least 33% by 2030, with the ambition of reaching 40% – up from 16% today
  • create an Offshore Energy Passport, recognised outside of the UK, will be developed for offshore wind workers to transfer their skills and expertise to other offshore renewable and oil and gas industries – allowing employees to work seamlessly across different offshore sectors
  • see further work with further education institutions to develop a sector-wide curriculum to deliver a skilled and diverse workforce across the country and facilitate skills transfer within the industry
  • prompt new targets for increasing the number of apprentices in the sector later this year

The cost of new offshore wind contracts has already outstripped projections and fallen by over 50% over the last two years, and today’s further investment will boost this trajectory, with offshore wind projects expected to be cheaper to build than fossil fuel plants by 2020. The Deal will see UK continuing as the largest European market for offshore wind, with 30GW of clean wind power being built by 2030 – the UK making up a fifth of global wind capacity.

The UK is already home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Walney Extension off the Cumbrian Coast, and construction is well underway on projects nearly double the size. Around 7,200 jobs have been created in this growing industry over the last 20 years, with a welcome surge in opportunities in everything from sea bedrock testing to expert blade production.

The Deal will look to seize on the opportunities presented by the UK’s 7,000 miles of coastline, as the industry continues to be a coastal catalyst for many of the UK’s former fishing villages and ports. Increased exports and strengthened supply chain networks will secure economic security for towns and cities across the UK.

The government has already invested in growing the offshore wind sector by:

  • confirming that clean electricity auctions will be held in 2019 and every two years from then into the 2020s, signalling support worth up to £557 million for industry
  • supporting Local Enterprise Partnerships such as the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership to invest in skills and business support to maximise opportunities in the offshore wind sector
  • supporting local communities to create new regional clusters and build on their science and innovation strengths with the £115 million Strength in Places Fund to develop stronger local networks
Off shore wind farm

Defence Minister opens first military airbase to be powered by green energy

RAF Marham, the home of the UK’s F-35 multi role combat jets, is set to become the first military airbase to be powered by green electricity.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood made the announcement today during a visit to a Norfolk biogas plant, where he officially opened the new site that will provide energy to the airbase.

Electricity will be fuelled by fermented locally grown crops, providing 95% of RAF Marham’s energy needs and saving the MOD nearly £300,000 every year.

The facility, built by Future Biogas, will generate 4.5 MVA of electricity every day, which can power 350,000 LED bulbs. This project has been delivered by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) with government and private sector colleagues.

Minister for Defence People & Veterans Tobias Ellwood MP said:

RAF Marham is leading the way as Britain’s first green military airbase. The biogas fuel is a truly green and sustainable solution, helping us tackle climate change, support the local economy and save taxpayer money.

I hope that this plant can act as a model and we can see more sustainable energy schemes rolled out across other military bases.

The process, known as Anaerobic Digestion, produces gas which is collected and used to power multiple generators that produce electricity and will reduce the Ministry of Defence’s carbon emissions by 14,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The waste residue from this process can then be dried and used as fertiliser to help grow local crops.

The plans have been in development since February 2015 and DIO, the part of the MOD which manages the Defence Estate, has been hard at work with colleagues in Crown Commercial Service (CCS), Future Biogas and energy company EDF to develop an electricity supply that is green and sustainable as well as providing financial savings.

Sam Ulyatt, Crown Commercial Services, Buildings Strategic Commercial Director, said:

This is an excellent example of how CCS can work with forward-thinking public sector partners like DIO, and suppliers like EDF and Future Biogas, to source power supply solutions for the Royal Air Force which provide resilience and strong green credentials, while boosting the local economy and providing energy security for the UK.

Philipp Lukas, Future Biogas Managing Director, said:

It’s fantastic to see the UK military join the green revolution. If we are to combat the imminent global threat of climate change, everyone, from all walks of life, needs to transition to renewable, sustainable energy as quickly as possible.

The AD plant in Swaffham now powers a significant local institution. In doing so, it not only helps secure the energy supply of a strategic national asset, but also takes the pressure off the local electrical infrastructure, which has been really struggling to keep up with growing regional demand.

A feasibility assessment was undertaken by DIO to determine what benefits could be derived from this supply of clean energy. As well as saving money and reducing carbon emissions, it was determined that the new plant would increase power resiliency at RAF Marham by providing multiple pathways to electrical resources.

The project was sourced through frameworks put in place by the Crown Commercial Service, which helps the entire public sector to save time and money when buying common goods and services. CCS continues to work with the RAF on demand management and renewable energy.