UK urged to take a leaf out of London’s book in facilitating CHP

“If the wider UK followed London's progressive planning requirements, the take up of combined heat and power and district energy would be accelerated, helping to deliver on the nation's energy efficiency goals, primarily in the larger cities.”

That’s the view of John Hyde, Consultant Specification Manager for ENER-G who spoke to Decentralized Energy this week on the subject of UK planning laws and how they impact on combined heat and power’s progress, or lack thereof.
John Hyde, Consultant Specification Manager for ENER-G
The Greater London Authority (GLA)  prioritises decentralised energy wherever feasible, insisting that developers should investigate the use of heat networks and CHP and the possible inclusion of existing heat networks as part of the feasibility assessment. The GLA requires stage 1 residential and commercial schemes to achieve a 35% carbon emissions reduction below Part L 2013.

The London laws will be strengthened further for October 2016 for new residential development, when a zero carbon target will be introduced, with penalties for non-compliance.

It’s in marked contrast to the scenario playing out around the rest of the country, according to Hyde.

“Although general UK planning law requires details of how a sustainable development will be specifically achieved, it doesn't go far enough in capitalising on the opportunities for optimising energy. “

“Building Regulations Part L (2013) is one of the key regulatory mechanism to reduce CO2 and limit NOx emissions. While Regulation 25A requires an analysis to consider high-efficiency alternative systems, such as decentralised energy, the target CO2 reductions it introduced were considerably lower than expected.”

“These are a 6% reduction for new-build houses and 9% for other non-domestic buildings, which are relatively easy to attain. Many local authorities are expected to follow London's lead in stretching these targets to prioritise low carbon and renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.”

“In my opinion; it is extremely difficult at planning stage to accurately assess the energy use of some buildings. Take for example a mixed use residential building that is under construction and will not be completed for a few years. One of the biggest factors here is tenancy or occupancy. This key factor is not usually finalised at planning and the patterns of energy usage always vary from site-to-site, especially when 100% occupancy may never be realised in some high end developments. Building energy efficiency would be much improved by using real data for six months or a year and using advanced analytics to predict lifetime energy consumption, enabling the correct sizing of CHP for its whole lifecycle.”

One of the major barriers to CHP deployment is the legislative restrictions surrounding the entrance of new suppliers to the power market, forcing an inability to use locally generated electricity.”

Licence lite goes someway to help this;” said Hyde. “But local generators and building owners should receive more help from government to allow buildings to use a process similar to the US practice of net metering. This allows owners of small distributed generation systems to get credit for excess electricity that they produce on-site. This would be a game-changer for CHP and a much needed reduction of electrical peak demands in all cities.”

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