Wednesday, June 30, 2010

District Energy Scheme in Croydon

A motion was passed last week by Croydon Council to explore the business case for a District Energy Scheme. The Financial Summary reads as follows:

The report proposes developing a detailed business case based on the following:
Installation of a District Energy (DE) scheme for the Croydon Metropolitan Centre (CMC) is estimated to cost approximately £55m. The cost could be met through developers’ contributions in lieu of their own heating systems and by capital borrowing against an anticipated income of £7m/year from selling heat and electricity. The scheme could be run by a new special purpose vehicle, contracted to a public sector partner or fully contracted out through competitive procurement.
An internal Project Board is developing proposals for a first phase based on the CCURV developments at the Taberner House and College Green sites and, subject to negotiation, adjacent sites such as Park Place. This phase has been provisionally modelled at £18m with potential income of £4m/year. An EU (JESSICA) loan of £5-20m is possible, subject to a successful bid. Such a loan could be paid off from private capital or Public Works Loan Board after a period e.g. 10 years. This would allow the council to exit from its financial commitment, or to choose to re-commit to further phases. Subject to the resources being available, £215,000 of Area Based Grant will be used to fund the development and assessment of this significant regeneration opportunity.

Comment was given to the Croydon Guardian.

A district energy system would represent a significant

improvement on the current situation.
It really serves
to highlight the inefficiency within the current system,
where heat produced as part of power
generation process
is wasted resulting in yet more fossil fuels having to be
burnt to heat our buildings.

But the paper completely sidesteps the critical issue:
how the energy will be generated.

The fact is that by 2025 when the scheme comes fully
on-line, we will have hit peak oil and fossil fuel prices

will be climbing rapidly. The report makes no mention
of this and thus smacks of being written by well-meaning

officers who need to water down proposals for those
Tory councillors who are still sceptical about climate

change and the value of renewable energy.

The Croydon Green Party would prefer to see this proposal
to feature as part of a comprehensive
Energy Descent Plan,
similar to the one produced by the
Totnes Transition Town
group ( It would not make sense
to go ahead with the DE plan before thoroughly thinking
through the broader
picture of Croydon's energy dependence.
Reducing our energy dependence is the unglamorous,

yet most effective way to meet our carbon emissions targets.

Producing a report on a District Energy scheme before really
working out how the heat
and power will be generated puts
the cart before the horse.
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