The businesses supplied by Southampton’s geothermal energy scheme is one of the largest commercially developed community heating and cooling networks in the UK. In the early 1980’s part of the city’s plan to become self-sustaining in energy, the council took advantage of a geothermal borehole commissioned by the department of energy. Due to insufficient resources, the Department of Energy did not proceed but Sothampton pioneered district heating, in co-operated with Utilicom Ltd.
In 1986, Southampton began pumping heat from the geothermal borehole through a district heating network. Since then, several combined heat and power engines and backup boilers for heating have been added. The scheme starter with just the Civic Centre as a single costumer and now has 1,000s of customers, including Southampton University, a hospital, BBC television studios, one of Europe’s largest shopping centres and many other businesses or buildings.
A 725kW CHP engine guarantees the secure operation of the hospital supplying its heat and electricity.
- District energy network took £7 million to develop
- Annual sales of 40GWh of heat and 8GWh of cooling
- 11 km of cooling and heating pipes
- Saves 11,000 tons of carbon emissions annually
- 85% efficient (average of about 38% efficiency for a centralised power station)
- High efficiency lead to it winning a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2001 and a National Energy Efficiency Award in 2006
The Millbrook scheme will be one of the largest community heating developments in the UK, only costing £55 million.
- Over 4,000 homes to be connected, including 3,000 council owned dwelling and 1,000 privately owned homes
- 8 schools and 9 other buildings owned by the council will also be included
- The CHP plant will produce 50MW of electricty to the local distribution network; enough to power 85,000 homes
- Set to deliver around 80% of Southampton’s pledged carbon emissions reductions; saving 170,000 tons annually