Major Next Steps for Somers Town Heat Network

Somers Town Energy is on course to provide further benefits to the London Borough of Camden following the installation of new plant equipment as the project moves into its second phase.

Vital Energi and Camden Council originally began working on the £3.4m project in 2014 when we provided the retrofit energy centre into an under-used car park and connected four housing estates via a 581m district heating network. This has been providing 339 homes with low carbon heat and hot water from the three 1.3MWth boilers installed.

The project is now at its exciting second stage which sees the installation of a 1MW CHP engine, four 9,000L and three 11,000L thermal stores which will reduce carbon emissions even further. The units were delivered over a two day period which saw us complete all traffic and pedestrian access management to ensure safety, with the deliveries completed between working hours to minimise disruption as much as possible.

Once this phase of the project is complete, Somers Town Energy will provide savings of over 1,000 tonnes per annum and will deliver financial benefits to Camden Council through the sale of electricity generated by the CHP.

As the heat network begun operation in 2015, there was limited historical operational data to determine detailed demand patterns, which led the Council to request a period of study in order to understand the network’s performance. This led us to provide a dual phased solution, allowing for a period of heat study to generate operational data before deciding upon the best matched CHP engine size. An implementation plan like this allowed us to overcome challenges of the unknown usage levels and provide an accurate solution that best suited the client.

Vital Energi's Project Manager, Derek Culver, commented, “It is always an exciting time when a project reaches its next phase, and having been operating Somers Town Energy for almost four years we are incredibly pleased to be involved with this latest development. The additional CHP engine and thermal stores will maximise the financial and carbon savings for the borough with work connecting the next estate set to begin at the end of the month.”

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet Member for Improving Camden’s Environment added, “Somers Town Energy is Camden’s flagship low emissions project. It shows how a forward-looking council can deliver projects that are both good for the environment and save money. I look forward to seeing the project develop further over the coming months.”

The next phase of Somers Town Energy will see extensions to a new community centre, the redesigned Edith Neville School and a further housing block. To support Camden’s Community Investment Programme visit www.camden.gov.uk/cip.

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