Peterborough City Council has unveiled a plan to host the UK’s largest smart, low-carbon city energy system including renewable electricity generation, energy storage and heat networks. Supported by the UK Government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) arm, the £2m scheme will see additional solar and energy-from-waste electricity generation capacity installed across the city-region. To help overcome the variable outputs of these generation methods, the scheme, called the Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure project (PIRI), will also see battery storage capacity installed and businesses and households encouraged to flex their energy demands. A more flexible energy system will not only enable more renewable generation on the local grid but support the shift to electric transport, which will increase electricity demand, the Council claims. To that end, the PIRI plans include measures for businesses and households looking to install electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to do so at cost parity with the costs associated with driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As for heat, PIRI includes plans for a “next-generation” heat network to be installed to serve businesses and flats in the city centre. Heat networks fed by ground-source or air-source technology are not intrinsically “net-zero” and do produce emissions but are considered less carbon-intense than individual gas boilers. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has consistently claimed that heat networks should deliver up to 18% of UK heating demand by 2030. Peterborough City Council claims that by making “integrated” changes to heat, electricity and transport, households and businesses will see their energy bills decrease by up to one-quarter. The local authority will offer an integrated billing service for heat, electricity and mobility to enable easier tracking of savings. Once PIRI is up and running, Peterborough City Council has said it will provide other local authorities with details of the plan, that they may use it as a “blueprint” to deliver against their own climate and energy commitments. More than half of the UK’s councils have declared a ‘climate emergency’, with many having set net-zero targets more ambitious than the national Government’s 2050 framework.
Edie 26th Feb 2020 read more »