Swedes behind New Zealand’s district energy scheme

District energy schemes are on the agenda for Christchurch, New Zealand as it continues to recover from the 2011 earthquakes that created so much damage in the city.

As part of a consortium which included Swedish companies Bizcat and FVB, Aurecon undertook one of three studies, commissioned by Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAfE) in late 2011, to examine the feasibility of New Zealand's first District Energy Scheme (DES).

The proposed project would ultimately provide electrical power, space and water heating and cooling from centralised power and heat co-generation plant fuelled by various renewable sources. A network of pipes would transport hot and cold water from the plant into buildings around the city, enabling owners to dispense with their own plant and the associated building space.

The proposal is for the scheme to use renewable fuels and be capable of capturing waste energy from other sources. Similar schemes are already common in parts of Europe and can result in significant cost savings for building owners and their tenants. 

Merv Altments, CEO of the Christchurch Agency for Energy was particularly pleased with the feasibility process and Aurecon’s involvement, commenting that, “Aurecon were pivotal in not only getting the feasibility study completed within a very short timeframe but also ensuring that the design concept developed was the right way to make a DES in Christchurch commercially viable.”

“Following the sequence of earthquakes in Christchurch since 22 February 2011, around two thirds of the buildings within the city centre are set to be demolished. A sustainable rebuild of Christchurch is high on the list of priorities for the City Council and the city’s residents. An innovative DES goes to the core of meeting this challenge,” Simon added.

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