- What are Energy Networks?
- Why Energy Networks?
- Energy Network Priority Areas
- Energy Networks at Bath Western Riverside
- District Heating Feasibility at Bath Enterprise Area
- District Heating Feasibility at Keynsham Town Centre
Last updated: 21st September 2017
The term “energy networks” refers to the distribution of locally generated energy which could include heat, electricity and cooling. This includes district heating (or heat networks) where heat from a central source such as a biomass boiler can be provided directly to homes and businesses through a network of pipes carrying hot water. An energy network might also include a Combined Heat and Power system (CHP) which generates electricity and uses the waste heat for district heating. District heat systems can also be designed to produce cooling instead of individual air conditioners. Energy networks that include heat, electricity and cooling, such as in Birmingham, are also referred to as “tri-generation” networks. Energy networks are a very established technology, widely used in other parts of Europe e.g. Denmark and becoming more widespread in the UK.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is committed to tackling climate change and fuel poverty, aiming to facilitate a reduction of district-wide CO2 emissions by 45% by 2026. Energy networks can reduce CO2 emissions in two ways; by using a low carbon fuel source, such as biomass for district heating, or by more efficiently using fossil fuels, e.g. with a gas-fired CHP system which utilises the waste heat produced by electricity generation, unlike traditional power stations. Local control over energy production and distribution can also reduce energy costs for consumers, depending on how the network is set up and governed.
The 2010 District Heating Opportunity Assessment Study conducted by AECOM found that energy networks are viable in the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area (EA) and also in Keynsham and central Bath. These are designated as heat network Priority Areas and Opportunity Areas in the adopted Placemaking Plan through Core Policy 4 (CP4) “District Heating”. CP4 also encourages energy networks in the rest of the district. Maps for the Heat Network Priority and Opportunity Areas can be found on p69 of the Placemaking Plan, and a more detailed map of the Bath Enterprise Area Priority Heat Network Priority Area can be found in Section 5 below.
Efficiencies are gained through joining up energy networks as each phase of development comes forward, so it is crucial that any development in the priority areas facilitates interconnection between energy networks. To ensure that this happens, CP4 requires development to include heat networks in the heat network Priority Areas.
The Supplementary Planning Document for the Bath Riverside development requires 10% of the energy used to be generated through renewable sources. This has led to the development of a heat network by developers Crest Nicholson in partnership with energy company EoN at Bath Riverside. Bath Western Riverside was cited by DCLG as a sustainable construction exemplar.
In 2014 Bath and North East Somerset Council secured funding from the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s Heat Network Delivery Unit to further investigate feasibility and delivery of energy networks as part of an overall energy strategy for the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area (EA). The aim of this study was to identify the most technically and economically viable option for the delivery of site-wide energy solutions for the Enterprise Area and the role of the Council within this option. Buro Happold was commissioned to deliver this work in early 2015.
Phase 1 of this feasibility study is now complete. It shows that the most promising areas for district heating within the Enterprise Area are the North Quays development and the Lower Bristol Road area (adjacent to Bath Western Riverside) and has refined the heat network priority area into map form, which can be viewed and downloaded below. This map is referenced in the updated version of CP4 which is included on of the in the submitted draft Placemaking Plan (p68), as per the bolded text below:
“Within the three identified “district heating priority areas”, shown indicated on Diagram 19 (Bath Central, Bath Riverside and Keynsham High Street), and shown in detail in the associated evidence base, and development will be expected to incorporate infrastructure for district heating, and will be expected to connect to existing systems where and when this is available, unless demonstrated that this would render development unviable”.
The map below shows the revised priority area:
A second phase of feasibility work is currently underway, which is looking in more detail at the technical and commercial viability of the North Quays development, with a view the identifying a business case and the potential role of the Council and other key stakeholders in delivery.
In 2015 a further tranche of funding was secured from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Heat Network Delivery Unit for a review of district heating opportunities at Keynsham town centre. Phase 1 of this feasibility work was completed in 2015, also delivered by Buro Happold. It concludes that, at the present time, district heating is not economically viable in Keynsham town centre, mainly as a result of efficiency improvements at the new Civic Centre and proposed new leisure centre reducing the projected heat demand.
It recommends however that heat network connectivity should still be required under CP4 to facilitate a heat network at a future date, should more high density development be forthcoming.