HOT|COOL NO.1/2021 - "Fuel, Flexibility & Green Transition"

Convincing customers not to use cheap gas Our early ambition was to contribute towards reducing fuel poverty amongstmany of our citizens. One of the key challenges we face is convincing customers that the carbon burning gas that only costs approximately 2 pence per kWh in the UK is not sustainable. The alternative electricity cost is about 14-15 pence

The landowners convinced us their development partner could manage the build-out of a shell building. We tendered and secured Vital Energi to assist us in fitting out and running the pipework. Through Vital engaged with Star Refrigeration to build us two 2.6MW heat pumps, we call the twins to aim for a 75-80 degrees Celsius system using ammonia as a refrigerant.

per kWh, and our electrical network is becoming ever less carbon reliant with significant wind provision across Scotland. The modelled price point to deliver our heat cannot currently match the process of gas. However, through education and legislation, we see this changing. Scottish Government has introduced legislation that from 2025 no newly built homes will have a gas-burning boiler heating system. Alternatives are currently more expensive, but our water-sourced energy centre will be very competitive in terms of price in 2025. We just have some convincing to do!

Benefits in the Masterplan One of the benefits of the masterplan of the overall Queens Quay site was the balance of commercial facilities versus homes. Themasterplan envisages over 1,000 newhomes across the area and the District Heating system required significant capacity built-in to cope with this forecast demand. The energy centre has the capacity for additional heat pumps, additional backup gas boilers, and an additional 135,000 litre storage tank. This was particularly important as our ambitions stretch beyond the Queens Quay site towards the large Hospital complex of the Golden Jubilee Hospital, some 1.5km from the centre, which we are progressing well with. We also installed pipework in the ground that stretches across the main road from Queens Quay into Clydebank, where there are a business park and shopping centre that could be future customers. The system was commissioned and operating from October 2020. At a visit to Titan Enterprise, a Council-owned multi- occupancy office just before Christmas, I enquired how the staff experienced their new heat being provided from the Energy centre? The answer I got was a surprise, but maybe it should not have been. The answer was ‘what new heat’? They experienced no difference, just a nice warm building with low carbon generated heat rather than the gas-burning boiler systems previously. A long and winding road – leading to a real showcase The journey has been long and not without its challenges. We are pursuing new customers and constantly checking our financial model stacks up. We believe having the UK's largest water-sourced district Heating network will provide a real showcase for others. And importantly, provide heating across a large part of the estate and contribute to addressing a ‘fuel poverty situation that, as a public body, we must do everything in our power to change. With a little help from our Danish friends The journey has only just really commenced, and with tremendous mentoring support from our Danish friends, we believe this is just the start and look forward to continuing to deliver hot water to heat the businesses and homes of the future.

A showcase building close to the river Building close to the river at the basin, the pride of place on the site required us to look at the building design and its essential function. Our planning service was determined not to build a large non- descript grey box at the basin. And the Council, along with our designers/architects, worked together to deliver something special: glass-fronted, with mirror section, framed by a bronzed cladding and incorporating a large 30m ‘golden’ flue tower. Our investment partners and the Council wanted a ‘showcase’ demonstration project, and we believe we have achieved this with our fantastic-looking building. But it added to the build cost. The rest of the Queens Quay site was under development with roads and wider infrastructure, so installing the 5km of pipework was incorporated into these wider works. We had some delays as works were not originally planned in parallel. However, it was a cleared site with minor obstructions to allow the dig and installation of pipework to progress rapidly. £20m cost to public purse One other key aspect of delivering a networkwas gaining access to the basin and constructing a large extraction chamber below what would be a public accessible basin pathway. Our landowner partners sold us the access rights across their land to the river and constructed the pump and filter extraction chamber on our behalf. The extent of the chamber and the cost to access required additional funding from the Council, which we secured. Importantly we had to ensure our financial modelling could recover these costs over the lifetime of the project and forecast income from customers was realistic and achievable over 40 years. The building and infrastructure have cost the public purse close to £20m, significantly over our planned budget. However, we have a fantastic quality facility at our basin of Queens Quay. The modelling required us to consider a range of customers, from commercial businesses, public partners such as the National Health Service (NHS), the college, and social housing.

For further information please contact: Michael McGuinness,

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