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Pioneering power project sees office blocks cutting costs and carbon

Pioneering power project sees office blocks cutting costs and carbon

Office blocks across London and beyond could hold one of the keys to helping manage energy costs and enable decarbonisation.

In a pioneering new scheme run by UK Power Networks, a building in Central London is helping to reduce demand on the electricity network at peak times, by adjusting its temperature throughout the day.

A typical office block needs to be kept at 21-22 degrees centigrade. By simply changing the times of the day at which the aircon is running and avoiding running at full power during the peak period, buildings can help reduce demand on the network. The minor change in temperature is imperceptible to most workers, and offices can earn revenue from the electricity network.

Taking a smarter approach to using capacity on the network frees up space for more low carbon technologies like electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps to connect more quickly and at lower cost.

In a partnership with BankEnergi and supported by Oaktree Power Limited, UK Power Networks can now call on Bracken House in Central London to provide flexibility services to the electricity network. UK Power Networks has since had interest from several companies offering similar solutions in London and beyond.

The project builds on the Greater London Authority’s pioneering Flex London project, which set out to demonstrate how buildings could help manage peaks in demand on the network. Flex London concluded that flexibility could become London’s “greatest energy decarbonisation asset” – with potential for up to 1GW of flexibility by 2050 – which would free up capacity for almost 500,000 electric vehicles.

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy said: “Buildings are responsible for nearly 70 per cent of the capital’s carbon emissions, so it’s important we manage their energy demand intelligently to help us reach net zero by 2030. It’s great to see UK Power Networks building on the Flex London project to help bring energy bills down and deliver a more flexible, lower carbon energy system for all. It’s also a great example of how a relatively small change can help make London a greener and healthier city for all Londoners.”

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Distribution System Operator Director at UK Power Networks said: “Flex London paved the way for buildings to help us decarbonise the network and now this partnership is demonstrating it can become a reality. Particularly in cities like London, making tiny changes to the way buildings operate can lead to tremendous benefits for customers, saving money and helping us connect more green technology.”

BankEnergi CEO, Rajvant Nijjhar said: “We are pleased to be supporting UK Power Networks in providing demand side response services to a landmark London building. The building’s owners will benefit from lower costs and carbon emissions, without the occupants noticing a difference in comfort levels. We see this as the future in balancing grid supply and demand issues and providing vital services to DNOs like UK Power Networks. We are now looking forward to rolling out our solution across multiple buildings in London and across the UK.”

Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024