Gateshead district energy project earns £1million boost on demand

- Partnership with Flexitricity turns capacity into cash -

A district heat and power project in Gateshead has unlocked a £1million boost to its revenue after becoming a partner of demand response company, Flexitricity.

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 in excess of £60,000 per year over the next 15 years, simply by using its flexibility to smooth out peaks and troughs in national electricity demand.

Gateshead Council own both the District Energy Scheme and Gateshead Energy Company. Leader of the Council, Martin Gannon, 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.

Dr Alastair Martin, Chief Strategy Officer at Flexitricity, said: “District heating projects like this are an exciting low-carbon way of keeping everyone’s lights on without impacting on service provision.

“Agreeing this partnership with Gateshead Energy Company is another step towards improving the country’s energy security while helping deliver lower-cost energy and heat for its customers.”

Flexitricity already works with other district heating providers across the UK, allowing them to add to their revenue streams by harnessing their flexibility to provide additional security to National Grid.

Ends

Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Flexitricity.

For more information or high resolution images please contact:

Dyan Owen: 0141 333 0557/ 07738 086 818/ dowen@webershandwick.com

Steven Flanagan: 0141 333 0557/ 07557 210989/  sflanagan@webershandwick.com

Notes to Editors

About Gateshead District Energy Scheme

Since 2011 Gateshead Council has been developing a district energy network to serve the town centre and Gateshead Quays area. The new, low carbon, energy centre will export both heat and power for sale directly to customers via a new underground network of heat pipes and high voltage ‘private-wire’ electricity cables to be funded and owned by the Council.

The scheme is based on a gas fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy centre located in Baltic Business Quarter. Gas CHP can generate electricity, whilst capturing and supplying waste heat to buildings, in a process that is twice as efficient as conventional power stations.

The initial scheme will supply energy to the following buildings (where buildings marked with * are to receive heat and power, and the rest, heat only):

  • Gateshead Civic Centre*
  • Homes managed by the Gateshead Housing Company
  • Gateshead College*
  • The Sage Gateshead*
  • BALTIC*

The scheme will be fully funded and owned by Gateshead Council and operated through a new Energy Services Company, which will also be owned by Gateshead Council.

Construction of the Energy Centre began in June 2015, and the first electrical customer was connected in October 2016. The first heat customers are due to be connected in early summer 2017.

About Gateshead Energy Company:

Gateshead Energy Company (GEC) is a public limited company, which is wholly owned by Gateshead Council.

GEC was incorporated in October 2015, and is contracted to operate and manage the Gateshead District Energy Scheme for 40 years.

GEC’s mission is to provide low-cost, low carbon heat and power to customers. It currently supplies heat and power to Gateshead Council, other public organisations, and the Gateshead Housing Company.

And its future customer base is set to grow in the next few years, to include more Council buildings, as well as commercial customers, including offices and hotels, as well as direct supplies to social housing tenants.

About Flexitricity

Flexitricity partners with businesses throughout the UK to provide reserve electricity to National Grid.

The word “Flexitricity” means “Flexible Electricity”. The company looks for flexibility in electricity consumption and generation, creating revenue for energy users and generators using the flexibility they find.

Flexitricity was founded in 2004 by Dr Alastair Martin, a professional energy engineer with experience ranging from gigawatt-scale coal and nuclear power stations.

Based in Edinburgh, the company introduced the concept of aggregated load management and flexible generation. 

National Grid’s estimate of savings to consumers can be found at: http://www.nationalgridconnecting.com/how-dsr-could-transform-our-energy-system/