Woking, United Kingdom

Summary

De-centralizing the energy sources creates energy right where it is used so that transmission losses are minimized and efficiency is increased. A combination of sustainable and renewable energy installations along with energy efficiency measures has succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions within the Council's own buildings by 82% and energy consumption by 52%. Since 1990, the city has saved £5.4 million in municipal energy bills.

What is it?

  • Distributed energy resources are small-scale power generation technologies (typically in the range of 3 to 10,000 kW) located close to where electricity is used (e.g., a home or business) to provide an alternative to or an enhancement of the traditional electric power system.
  • There are currently 18 examples around the Borough of distributed energy in the form of sustainable and renewable energy installations, giving the following overall capacities:
  • 524.42 kWp of Photovoltaic capacity
  • 2843kWe of Combined Heat and Power (electricity)
  • 3862kWth of Combined Heat and Power (thermal)
  • Currently the Borough's Combined Heat and Power installations use natural gas as the primary fuel source.

Energy efficiency

Since the implementation of the project, the Council's energy consumption has been reduced by 48.6%.

Initial investment

In terms of CHP and renewables, about £12m (up to the end of 2006) has been invested and this is through a combination of the Council's energy company (Thameswey Energy Limited) buying some of the assets from the Council that were developed between 1991 - 2000 (circa £3m) and then building new assets (circa £9m since 2000 up to December 2005). These investments are based on an internal rate of return of about 8% with the Council and other energy customers paying market rate for energy produced.

Financial savings

Financial savings have been calculated to be approximately £5.4 million up to 2005; approximately £700,000 saved in avoided energy costs per year. These savings can be attributed in the main to the energy efficiency measures and financial savings made during the period 1991-1999 from an initial recycling fund dedicated to energy efficiency works of £250,000.

How does it work?

The town is investigating the feasibility of installing 2–3 individual large scale wind turbines within the Borough in order to achieve the Climate Change Strategy's long term objective of purchasing 20% of the Council's electrical energy requirements from renewable sources by 2010/11.

The town is introducing a Low Carbon Homes Programme which will encourage residents of the Borough to take up energy efficiency measures as well as the installation of small-scale renewable and sustainable energy technologies.

Application

  • No specific natural resource is required.
  • Town partners with an energy company
  • Either the town and/or the energy company installs the power plant
  • Energy company is in charge of maintenance of power plant and generation of electricity
  • Through private wires, energy company delivers power to the surrounding area