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Enfield picks Vital Energi for Meridian Water heat network deal

Company will design and manage new network that is intended to change perceptions of district heating plans

Enfield Council has unveiled a new district heating scheme that aims to curb the existing carbon footprint for warming connected homes in the borough by 80 per cent when compared to properties using conventional technology.

Energetik, the energy company owned by the council, has reached a £15m agreement with Vital Energi to design, implement and manage an integrated energy network over a 12 year period that is expected to eventually serve 30,000 homes and businesses. The strategy is also intended to try and change perceptions about the effectiveness of district heating networks.

Under the terms of the contract, Vital Energi will design and build Meridian Water’s main energy centre as part of a broader renovation strategy of the borough. The predicted 80 per cent reduction in carbon footprint from the Meridian Water heat network will come from making use of low carbon heat that the company argues would otherwise be wasted. These reductions will also be generated from industrial processes at the Edmonton EcoPark, as well as the use of large volume thermal stores.

Energetik aims to interconnect the meridian water system with other networks it has in Arnos Grove and Ponders End. These two systems are intended to cut carbon dioxide output by 58 per cent.

Vital Energi said, “The carbon saving is less than at Meridian Water because the other networks will use quality assured gas-fired boilers and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) as their heat sources combined with large volume thermal stores. It’s still a significant reduction in carbon emissions compared to a typical central heating system.”

As well as meeting an ambition to help Enfield Council’s carbon emissions across the borough by 40 per cent over the next three years, the new agreement is also intended improve the reputation of the “unregulated” district heating market.

Energetik intends to meet this aim by registering each network with the Heat Trust consumer protection scheme as a minimum standard benchmark for its operations.

The company will also implement the highest level of insulation available at present in the European market to try and reduce heat losses.

“Insulation levels for above ground pipework is up to 250 per cent better than present British standards to minimise network heat losses,” said Energetik.

“Our specification allows for low and seasonally adjusted operating temperatures to minimise network heat losses. In addition, we implement a strict technical specification for developer delivered heating systems to ensure quality, efficiency and compatibility with Energetik networks.”

According to Energetik, the first customers will be connected to its Arnos Grove network during 2017 as part of its interconnected approach to heating.

By the end of the current year, 80 homes are intended to be connected to the network. The figure is expected to climb to 120 homes during 2018 and then increase incrementally up to 1500 properties by 2021.

“The Arnos Grove and Ponders End heat networks have smaller local energy centres and pipe networks than our largest scheme, the Meridian Water heat network,” the company said. “We plan to expand each network over time so that more homes and business can benefit from connecting to energetik’s community heat network.”

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