The buildings connected to Phase 1 of the sustainable community energy network comprise the Civic Offices, Victoria Way Car Park (where the CHP station is located), a new 4 star 161 bedroom Holiday Inn Hotel (with no boiler or chiller plant, since the hotel derives its energy services from the CHP station), the Metro Hotel, the Big Apple (Bowling and Diner), Chameleon Bar, Quakes Nightclub and the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre. Surplus power is exported to other local buildings and sheltered housing over public wires via an enabling agreement for exempt supplier operation which also receives the benefit of exemption from the Climate Change Levy. The project was supported with an Energy Saving Trust grant.
The CHP system in Woking Town Centre will be developed organically taking a distributed embedded generation approach.
This installation utilises a new 1.35MWe CHP, together with an existing 110kWe CHP, 163,000 litres of thermal storage, 1.4MW of heat fired absorption cooling, 2.5MW of standby and top up boilers and 11kV/400V private wire, heat and chilled water distributed energy system network. All buildings are interconnected with heat mains and high voltage/low voltage private wire networks with a single connection point to the local distribution network at the CHP station.
As a small generator/supplier the ESCO is an exempt generator/supplier able to achieve the true value of green energy by selling the electricity (as well as heat and chilled water) directly to customers on the network rather than to a licenced supplier. This approach enables the ESCO to increase its income to fund the investment whilst at the same time providing competitive electricity to customers by cutting out high transmission/distribution losses and use of system charges.
The combination of the green technologies connected to the sustainable community energy system (with reverse winter/summer thermal profiles) enables the CHP to be much bigger than conventional CHP achieving 135% minimum sustainability in electricity (ie., makes the site self sustainable in electricity with a minimum of 35% available as export off site over public wires to other local customers). This sustainability also enables island generation to be provided so that the buildings connected to the system can be supplied at full load in the event of the failure of the local Distribution Network Operator or National Grid networks which is very attractive to customers, particularly in the event of a prolonged external power cut, eg., the 1987 Hurricane and the 2000/01 flooding, when buildings on the network can continue in operation for as long as a gas supply is available.
The surplus CHP power is exported over public wires under an enabling agreement for exempt supplier operation to other Council buildings to reduce the Authority’s exposure to the Climate Change Levy, giving real meaning to the efficiency and attractiveness of CHP, and to some local residents but as the system grows other local businesses and residential customers will be supplied in this way within the limitations (and barriers to green energy and local competitive supply) of the Exempt Licencing regime.
This project is the first sustainable community energy system, operating in a competitive energy market, of its type in the world and has important implications for future sustainability and how to supply local green energy rather than outdated inefficient national energy systems which have no future in a declining fossil fuel world.