English council to save nearly £1m in district heating scheme with Scottish energy-demand experts

Gateshead Energy Centre
Gateshead Energy Centre

An arms-length council-owed district heating company in England is set to boost its projected life-time income by nearly £1 million after signing up to a power demand-response scheme run by Scottish energy experts.

Gateshead Energy Company is the operator of the Gateshead District Energy Scheme, which will provide low-cost, low-carbon heat and power to homes, public buildings and businesses across the centre of Gateshead. The scheme is currently being commissioned, and will be fully operational by mid-2017.

Becoming part of Flexitricity’s demand response network means the publicly-owned project will receive more than £60,000 per year over the next 15 years, by using its flexibility to smooth out peaks and troughs in national electricity demand.

Led by Dr Alastair Martin, Chief Strategy Officer, Edinburgh-based Flexitricity introduced the concept of aggregated load management and flexible generation.

Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, which owns own both the District Energy Scheme and Gateshead Energy Company, said: “Once we realised that we could bring more revenue into the project by providing capacity to the National Grid – without changing our day-to-day operations – the decision was made for us.

“It’s win-win for ourselves and our customers. Not only does it support our business model of providing low cost, low carbon energy to homes, organisations and businesses, but Flexitricity’s system works seamlessly with our own, meaning we can provide heat and power to our customers while supporting critical national infrastructure.”

Gateshead Energy Company’s combined heat and power (CHP) system will add 4MW of electricity generating capacity to National Grid. Within Flexitricity’s portfolio, the Gateshead CHP will form part of a virtual power station that’s big enough to make a real difference to bills while helping to keep the lights on nationwide. 

The system also helps the Grid absorb periods of excess supply from renewables, putting wind and solar energy to good use and supporting district energy schemes like Gateshead at the same time.

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