Chelsea stadium plan on hold despite CHP inclusion

The decision by Chelsea Football Club to include combined heat and power in its plans for its new stadium have helped the club in its bid to get the facility built, however a lack of renewable energy technologies in the overall plan complicate the club’s efforts to secure full planning permission approval.

Clean Energy News reports that the energy strategy document states that this system is expected to save more than 133 tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to around 7% of the stadium’s total carbon emissions. Combined with thermally enclosed areas already established, its emissions related to electricity and heat demand would fall by nearly 12%.

However despite the addition of CHP to complement other energy efficiency measures such as LED bulbs and a lighting management system, the stadium plans would fall substantially short of the 35% mandated in the London Plan for new developments.

Financial contributions will therefore have to be made to a local decarbonisation fund to help reduce CO2 emissions off-site, which Chelsea FC acknowledged in the conclusion of its strategy document.

The club had ruled out solar pv as a solution as the design of the stadium militates against the effectiveness of solar panels.

Consultants ME Engineers used the stadium’s projected base heating load to determine the ideal size of any CHP generator, based around it operating for 14 hours each day. Daily demand was determined to be 1,948.92kWh per day. Any CHP system would also be expected to run for at least 5,110 hours each year to ensure its financial feasibility.

Chelsea FC eventually settled on a CHP engine size of 161kW thermal/90kW electrical.

Chelsea have received planning permission for its redevelopment plans, pending final approval from the Mayor’s Office. Mayor Sadiq Khan must now announce within 14 days of permission being granted whether the plans are to be approved, rejected or organise a public enquiry which he would chair himself.

Moldovan district heating tender launched

Moldova’s CET-Nord has launched a tender for the supply of district heating network pumps, fans and frequency converters.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said CET, a provider of district heating services in the municipality of Balti, will divide the tender into two -one for the supply of district heating network pumps and frequency converter and one for air FD fans, flue gas ID fans and frequency converters.

The EBRD is providing a EUR7m loan towards the modernisation project in the municipality. The overall cost of the scheme is EUR10m ($10.65 million), with the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environmental Partnership (E5P) facility also expecting to contribute.

SeeNews reports that CET-Nord, owned by the Ministry of Economy of Moldova, operates one of the three major combined heat and power generation plants (CHP) in Moldova with over 100 km of network serving 93% of Balti’s population connected to the district heating system, and a coal-fired Heat Only Boiler.


US military continues interest in microgrid technology

The US military has again opted for microgrid technology to power its facilities, this time at Parris Island in South Carolina.

Ameresco has won a $91.1m contract to build the project at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD).

The military has repeatedly demonstrated its preference for microgrid solutions in recent years with a number of new projects

The package includes a 6.7 MW of PV generation, a 3.5 MW combined heat and power facility and a 8MWh battery storage system.

Energy Storage News reports that the $91.1 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) has been put in place to fund Ameresco’s engineering, construction and operation works. The ESPC uses the electricity bill savings delivered by the system to pay down its cost. This is essentially cost-neutral for the client.

“This project will allow the site to operate in island-mode during a loss of utility connection ensuring operation of mission-critical systems,” said Nicole A. Bulgarino, senior vice president and general manager, federal solutions, Ameresco.

Emergency diesel generators will also be used in response to site electrical loads. The microgrid control system will monitor the health of the utility connection and, when a utility disturbance is sensed, safely disconnect the site while matching load to available onsite generation through fast load shedding.

It will also maximise savings and lengthen the system’s lifespan by optimising the operations and maintenance of the microgrid across the 121 buildings on the site.

Engie awarded $45m geothermal contract

Bordeaux city authorities have awarded Engie a 30 year contract to develop the city’s geothermal district heating network.

Bordeaux Metropole Council awarded the $45m project to enable the French firm to meet 82% of the region’s heating needs, with the rest being supplied by natural gas.

It will serve around 28,000 homes, help reduce 19,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year and create 38 direct and indirect jobs.

Drilling of two geothermal boreholes, comprising a production and reinjection well, is expected to start in early 2019 and last for four months.

ATE to take majority stake in Dalkia

Amundi Transition Energétique (”ATE”), a management company owned jointly by Amundi and EDF, is to purchase via a majority stake in a portfolio of cogeneration plants owned by French company  Dalkia.

 This first investment by ATE which amounts to over €150m (partially financed by bank loans from Auxifip and Crédit Industriel et Commercial) involves 132 plants with a combined capacity of more than 330 MW producing electricity and heat for residential, industrial and public customers primarily via public service contracts.

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) advised ATE on the transaction, headed up by WFW Partner Arnaud Félix.

Arnaud commented: “We are really pleased to have assisted ATE with their first investment in the energy infrastructure sector and in particular in cogeneration plants.  WFW Paris continues to be very active in the energy sector, especially these last few months with regard to cogeneration and heat networks.  All of which demonstrates our ability to advise leading energy industry players on all aspects of major deals whether corporate, regulatory, project contract, financial or tax related”.

French solar road comes online

France this week took the first step in its plan, announced in February 2016, to pave 1000 km of its roads and streets with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
A 1 km stretch of the RD5 road in the village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, which has been covered with 2800 m2 of PV panels, was officially opened by ecology minister Ségolène Royal on Thursday.
The single-lane solar surface will now be tested for two years and is expected to power street lighting in the 3400-resident village. Developer Colas, a transport infrastructure company, claims the solar road is a world first.
Critics have pointed to the project’s cost (€5m, $5.2m) in relation to its current power price of €17/kWp, as compared to €1.30/kWp for rooftop PV. Colas says it aims to make its technology cost-competitive by 2020.
The technology is the result of a five-year collaboration between Colas and France’s Institute National de l’Energie Solaire (INES). According to Colas, installation involves simply sticking the PV panels to the road surface, without the need for civil engineering work.
The company says its Wattway road surface is composed of solar cells in superposed layers that ensure resistance and tyre grip and are just 7 mm thick, adding that the surface can adapt to thermal dilation in the pavement as well as the weight of vehicles.
A second trial project, which aims to cover a 29 km stretch of the US state of Georgia’s interstate highway system with the Wattway panels, is currently underway.

Canadian city refunded after district energy initiative fails

City authorities from Guelph in Ontario, Canada are relieved after capital invested in a failed district energy scheme was returned to the city coffers.

Guelph Today website reports that the city negotiated its way out of a costly energy contract. $60 million in capital costs have been avoided and over $600,000 in security deposits returned to city.

"I’m ecstatic about this outcome for the city. This is definitely a good way to start the year off," Mayor Cam Guthrie said.

ENVIDA Community Energy Inc, an independently-run extension of city-owned Guelph Hydro Electrical Systems, also recouped over $600,000 in security deposits related to an agreement made with the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to build two 10-megawatt power plants, one in the Hanlon Creek Business Park and in Downtown Guelph.

Those plants would have cost $60 million and were to replace two smaller test facilities currently in use in supplying a centralized heating and cooling source to city customers through the cities since-failed district energy initiative.

It was revealed to Guelph City Council last July that the district energy initiative had failed, already costing the city $14 million, due primarily to an inability to attract enough customers, poor initial revenues and other strategic errors.

Mayor Guthrie said, "I believe that ideology was driving this forward and when you have blind ideology pushing things like this forward you start spending more and more and more money."To have something like this come to light early is a huge benefit to the community."

The original district energy plan hoped to connect large customers like the University of Guelph and Guelph General Hospital to the district energy system, but failed to materialise.


Norvento chief confident holistic approach will pay off

The implications of seismic political events like Brexit on the small scale renewable energy sector are not yet apparent but Ivo Arnus, Norvento’s UK Director believes his company is versatile enough to survive what negative repercussions come the industry’s way.

Before Christmas the company launched a new integrated biogas innovation for agricultural, utility and industrial users throughout the UK. Known as the Norvento-BioPlant, the system enables small and medium-sized companies and landowners to sustainably manage organic waste and turn it into renewable gas, electricity or both, allowing them to take a step towards energy independence.

Norvento’s BioPlant is a medium-sized system for the agricultural and landfill waste sectors. The company claims that its innovation will benefit from "the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) sweet spots", which range between 150kWh for electricity and 600kWh for heat.
It’s another string to the Norvento bow and that diversity  is more important than ever with political turmoil appearing to be the rule at the moment.

“We are as you well know a multi renewable energy company so yes we are focused so far in the UK in deploying our ned100 wind turbine and we are still in the process of doing so but Norvento has experience in various other forms of renewable technology. What we are trying to do is to make the most of our knowledge for the UK as obviously the wind turbine market is a bit more difficult at the moment.”

That’s not to say that small scale wind energy is finished. It’s not. But the company recognised it has to adapt to a changed paradigm.

“We still have interested farmers who believes a turbine is a good investment for many reasons. Some of them might already have spent money and want to recover that – in the permitting, in the development and so on. Some others have a high consumption and the numbers work and are not so affected by planning.”

The company has worked hard over the years to build up its sales force in the UK and is keen to use that team to promote its anaerobic digester (AD) expertise. It finds itself in the ideal scenario of having a product that appeals to the same market as those who chose wind turbines.

“There are a significant amount of synergies in that respect- and we are also set to launch further proposals for the energy services side of things to corporates who wish to curb carbon footprints.”

Norvento is also positioning itself as an advisory for onsite generation and general energy advisor services for such corporate entities. The company’s new headquarters, ‘an exceptional building’ according to Arnus, will be officially opened in the coming weeks and is set to exemplify the vision the company has for onsite power possibilities.

“It is tough times for renewable energy but we are still confident that there is a gap in the market for our products and services and we intend to make the most of it.”

Norvento has a dedicated biofuels team in Spain. A typical project involves powering a cheese factory-dairy farm combination. All the substrates and feedstock are on site and a lot of the energy requirements directly feed the heat to the industrial process, negating the need for a combined heat and power plant, for practices such as drying cheese or curing.

“We are confident of rolling out this type of solution in the UK- We offer the solution and EPC, but don’t offer funding or investment in the plant. We are targeting customers ready to fund it themselves – we will design construct and operate from a technical point of view but will not have a stake in it.”

A recent report by the Association for Decentralised Energy in the UK found that the country had fallen behind continental neighbours in terms of optimisation of energy efficiency. Arnus says the comprehensive service Norvento are capable of offering will suit the country, if momentum towards meeting energy efficiency targets returns to priority.

“There terminology associated with energy efficiency which can be confusing. We want to take a holistic approach to it. We analyse a site for its energy generation potential and a t the same time tis energy savings, or energy efficiency potential.”

So for that cheese factory- dairy example, methane can be converted to onsite generation, but lighting and ventilation can be part of the package. Norvento is offering that holistic service that others, providing simple energy efficient measures, might not be able to fully provide.

Despite the uncertainty created by Brexit, Arnus feels positive about the possibilities in the UK, particularly in the light of recent events in the company’s home nation.

In Spain, right now the energy efficiency market is developed but only at a surface level. The corporates are looking at a payback of four years and much of the offerings are confined to LED and ventilation but ‘everything in respect of onsite generation is completely null’.

This is down to a piece of legislation which appears to be completely counterproductive to EU ambitions for energy efficiency, so much so that it is currently the subject of a court action.

“There is a cost for anyone who is willing to connect to the grid,” says Arnus. “It’s reduced the number of distributed generator s throughout the country significantly.”

“Basically if you put solar panels on your roof in Spain you have to pay an ongoing rate to be connected to the grid for the use of your own power. Rather than getting paid you have to pay, that rule has basically wiped out distributed generation in Spain.”

“Some would argue this is the influence of the equivalent of the big six in Spain, the power and influence of these companies is probably dictating the rules.”

Arnus is not beyond worrying about how things develop in the UK, however, and when Decentralized Energy spoke to him he referred to a recent article in the Times urging Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon the climate change act.

“Right now the whole world is uncertain. We don’t know how the UK is going to define its energy strategy as it steps away from the EU. Up to now the targets were clearly defined by the EU and then it was made law in the UK with the climate change act.”

“It is worrying because we, in our strategy, bet on AD in the UK. We thought it was a good idea because of the context we were in – feed in tariffs were decreasing because the UK was on target for renewable generation, yet they are behind in terms of heat and transport targets.”

“The famous letter leaked from (then energy minister) Amber Rudd a few months ago that the UK was falling behind its renewable heat targets; we though the AD tackles that and it would get more support and wouldn’t be cut short in the same manners as the Feed in Tariffs were cut short. We still think it’s a good moment to launch AD – it’s a worldwide phenomena in addressing methane creation and optimising it.”

Proposed new Chelsea Stadium to feature CHP

A planning application by Chelsea Football Club to re-develop its Stamford Bridge home includes combined heat and power technology at the core of its energy proposal.

The £600m redevelopment application goes before Hammersmith and Fulham Council on Wednesday, and if approval is granted, the new 60,000 seater venue will commence construction in 2018.

ESPN reports that several revisions were made to the original planning application last year, including additional tree planting, minor tweaks to the stadium design, the introduction of a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and a reduction of parking spaces on site.

Construction of the new stadium is expected to take three years, meaning that on the current schedule Chelsea’s new home would be ready for the 2021-22 season.


Israel experiments with off-grid Kibbutz

Israel’s off grid demonstration village at the Ketura Kibbutz in the Negev Desert, north of the Red Sea, is an attempt to show what is possible for eco-minded companies in the space.

Inhabitat website reports that the village demonstrates the potential for rapidly deployable housing, low-cost renewable energy systems, and experimental technologies.

Non-profit Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative teamed up to launch the Off-Grid Demonstration Village (also known as the Eilat-Eilot Off Grid Hub) in 2014.

Its location in the desert offers similar conditions as found in other underdeveloped parts of the world, where off-grid ventures are being produced.

The initiative and Arava Institute work directly with African communities and Bedouin communities in Israel to test out the viability and sustainability of these off-grid technologies.

The innovations lie in the easy-to-implement improvements to these types of houses, such as the addition of solar stoves or a biogas system to substitute fuel for cooking and heating to reduce pollution, risk of asthma, and the taxing labor of collecting wood for fuel.

As well as the presence of rooftop solar panels, a backyard biogas system, called HOMEBIOGAS, sits outside one of the homes to convert household waste into energy and organic fertilizer.

The urban structure is the largest of the three demonstration homes contained within the project and is based on buildings found in informal urban settlements like slums. The backyard includes an adjustable solar panel hooked up to a monitoring system so that users inside can adjust the position of the solar panel to maximize energy efficiency. A vacuum tube solar oven on display on the south side of the structure features insulated inner tubes that absorb solar energy to heat up food or water placed in the tubes to boiling temperatures.