Green energy scheme reduces carbon emissions and fuel poverty
26 February 2009
Aberdeen Heat and Power
Does an award-winning initiative in Scotland provide an answer to some of Britain’s energy problems?
Leading green electricity provider, green energy uk, is buying green electricity from the Aberdeen Heat and Power facility and putting it into the national grid in an innovative scheme that sees fuel poverty reduced for Aberdeen Council residents. Three cleaner, greener Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects created by the council are providing heat and hot water to more than 700 flats and public buildings, including a leisure centre, ice rink, sports changing facility and a beachfront ballroom. The installation of the CHP units has brought residents an 80% cut in their fuel bills whilst also reducing carbon emissions and generating electricity.
green energy uk’s chief executive, Doug Stewart, hails the project as a fantastic example. Doug says: “We are very pleased to be supplying our customers with the green electricity from these three cleaner, greener CHP units in Aberdeen. Cleaner, greener CHP works for everyone by reducing carbon emissions in the production of heat and electricity, whilst at the same time reducing the cost of fuel bills. It is very efficient; one fuel source is producing heating, hot water and electricity. Nothing is wasted. What’s more, the units are smaller than a three-bed house, so are ideally sized for urban areas and do not pollute like brown energy power stations do. We welcome any local authority thinking of planning something similar to get in touch.”
The initiative was recognised at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s recent UK Housing Awards, where Aberdeen City Council won the ‘Increasing Environmental Sustainability’ award and also scooped the top award: ‘Outstanding Achievement in Housing’.
Notes to editors
• The cleaner, greener CHP units are located in the Seaton, Hazelhead and Stockethill areas of the city and replace the flats’ inefficient storage heaters.
• Prior to the installation of the units, the average National Home Energy Rating for a multi-storey flat in Aberdeen was 3.3 (from 0 = poor to 10 = excellent). The running costs were around £38 per week (at Seaton [to heat the flat completely]), and the total carbon emissions were 1597 tonnes per annum. Once the green CHP units were in place, the energy rating increased to 6.2 – 8.1, the heating costs are now £7.75 per week, and the total carbon emissions have reduced by 45% to 936 tonnes per annum. By not having individual meters and instead charging by ‘heat-with-rent’, the heating charge is VAT exempt and reduces the residents’ costs.
• CHP dates back to the 19th century and was perfected by Thomas Eddison, who understood that heat was being wasted in electricity production, so set out to capture and use it. The CHP units in Aberdeen use the same principle as Eddison’s Pearl Street Station in New York, the first electric power plant in the United Stares to heat and power homes and businesses. Even though CHP was used into the 20th century, most famously in England at Battersea Power Station, it was quickly superseded by power plants using cheap coal to make electricity. These coal power plants were moved to rural areas because of their pollution, and the heat created through electricity production has been largely lost ever since. However, with the partnership between green energy uk and Aberdeen Heat and Power, are we now about to see the widespread return to our cities of this cleaner, greener, more cost effective power maker?
• Greenpeace estimates that centralised power stations throw away two thirds of the energy they generate.
• Plans are being drawn up to use biomass as the primary fuel source for one of the CHP units, reducing the carbon emissions even further with a secured lower fuel cost.