Europe's Largest Regeneration Scheme Heats Up

One of the largest brownfield regeneration projects in Europe, Barking Riverside London, has seen the delivery of its temporary energy centre designed and installed by Vital Energi.

In a partnership between L&Q and the Greater London Authority, the former power station site will be transformed into a vibrant community with 10,800 variously sized homes, 65,000m² of commercial space, a brand new train station, and seven schools to be constructed on the 443 acre site. Vital will be providing the energy solution for the entire development, with the construction of the temporary energy centre being one of the first major milestones.

Generating 4MW of heating capacity, the temporary energy centre was built off site in Birmingham and delivered in two parts to the development, making it one of the largest prefabrication projects Vital have undertaken. Prefabricating the energy centre enabled Vital to achieve an accelerated installation process due to minimal onsite connection time.

When designing the temporary solution, consideration had to be made towards the ability to transport the unit, whilst still holding the required capacity to cater for the growing development efficiently. The energy centre took around 12 weeks to prefabricate and consists of four 1MW condensing boilers, sensorless variable speed pumps, side stream filter, degasser units and water softener. The current solution has been designed with expansion in mind with an extra 1MW of power available to be installed as the project develops, and will serve the first 1,263 homes until the main energy centre comes online in 2021.

A temporary energy solution like this provides flexibility for the client due to the ability to re-use the equipment in the main energy centre or incorporate into future projects.

Vital have also designed the district heating network to accompany the energy centre which will grow alongside the site development, with the potential to be the largest heat network in the UK connecting 10,800 homes. The network has a unique solution in that it is a weather compensated district heating scheme. A solution of this kind will benefit the site through additional energy savings due to the ability to control the flow temperatures of the water dependent on the seasons, serving 75°C in the summer months and 90°C in the winter. A bespoke heat interface unit has been designed specifically for the project to operate with these changing temperatures, ensuring an efficient network.

Vital Energi’s Rob Callaghan, Regional Director for the South, explains, “This is a major project not just for Vital but for the Borough of Barking and Dagenham and we are immensely pleased to be a part of it. We have designed a modular energy solution to cater specifically for the development’s implementation schedule, with new buildings being connected as and when they are constructed.”

Matthew Carpen, Managing Director at Barking Riverside London, comments, “The installation of our new temporary energy centre marks a major milestone for the project. We are committed to implementing innovative solutions to help drive energy efficiency, reduce the development’s carbon footprint and therefore cut monthly costs for our future residents. It’s great to be working with Vital Energi to deliver such a pioneering piece of equipment, which will power the homes of our next residents, who are due to move in next year.”

The project has an expected completion date of 2032.

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