RHI at Denbighshire County Council

Denbighshire County Council takes the plunge with the Renewable Heat Incentive

Denbighshire County CouncilContributing 38% of the UK’s carbon emissions , the UK’s big heat users are the industrial, business and public sectors. For many public sector organisations, heating represents a significant portion of outgoings as leisure centres, hospitals and educational establishments have large heating requirements. However, old and inefficient heating systems are costing the council (and the taxpayer) significant sums of money every year – in both running costs and commitments under the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme.

E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business offers upfront investment in renewable and efficient heating systems, paid for through a long-term heating contract. The agreement aims to help organisations realise significant carbon reductions and vital cost savings, with the added benefit that there are no upfront costs. Once a partner qualifies E.ON funds and fits renewable energy technology tailored to suit the premises, and through the Heat Contract it sells that heat back to the partner at an agreed fixed price – at the same time reducing energy bills and eliminating the issue of investment costs and capital expenditure for the partner.

A leisure centre at the heart of a north Wales community will soon be the first to benefit from a cutting edge Heat Contract in partnership with E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business.

Cutting costs and improving efficiency

The pioneering agreement between Denbighshire County Council and E.ON will see renewable heat technology fitted at Rhyl Leisure Centre this summer.

Starting in April this year, E.ON is replacing the existing gas boilers with a biomass system in the grounds of the leisure centre – providing a source of low carbon heat for the council for ten years as part of the heat supply agreement.

Through this new partnership Denbighshire County Council is helping to keep the costs of local amenities down. Lower costs means admissions prices can be kept down, an important factor for local residents who rely on the leisure centre for social and health-related activities. The leisure centre at Rhyl is used by a number of community groups and organisations on a regular basis, such as the local high school which uses the centre as part of its curriculum, baby and toddler groups, and also as a popular venue for children’s parties.

E.ON began its work in Rhyl by conducting an initial site audit, which assessed the heat performance of the premises which informed its recommendation on the best way to lower heating bills and meet carbon reduction commitments. Through its Heat Contract E.ON designs, finances and installs the new renewable heat equipment, reducing the local authority’s carbon emissions and heating bill. Technology requirements will change to fit the site needs but could include ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar thermal energy.

The Rhyl solution: biomass technology

In the case of Rhyl Leisure Centre, biomass technology proved the most effective investment. As well as providing a more efficient heating and hot water system, the new technology is expected to generate carbon savings of up to 258 tonnes a year and will save the Council more than £3,000 per year which would have been liable under the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the Government’s mandatory energy efficiency scheme for high energy users. In addition, savings will also be made on the cost of space heating and hot water, lowering the cost of local amenities and keeping admission prices down.

Biomass boilers burn organic material and can be very effective when used as a driver of larger heat networks. Fuelled by entirely renewable materials, the carbon emissions produced by the boilers are no greater than those absorbed by the material as it is growing.

In Denbighshire, the deal helps in the Council’s commitment to explore ways of improving the sustainability of the county, providing a safe and healthy environment for the present and the future. Joining forces with E.ON has helped Rhyl significantly reduce its carbon usage and, even more importantly, when purse strings are tight, with no capital expenditure.

Jamie Groves, Head of Leisure Services at Denbighshire County Council, said: “Partnerships like this help us to drive down energy costs significantly, freeing up funds for reinvestment into the local community.

“We’re keen to ensure that valuable local services are accessible and affordable to our community users and this partnership enables us to reduce our heating spend whilst keeping the facilities up to date.”

Promoting sustainability through partnership

Through the Renewable Heat Incentive, more local authorities will be able to access funding
schemes, such as E.ON’s Heat Contract, to help them meet carbon reduction targets and reduce carbon emissions in the long term, while saving money in the short term. Given the continued financial challenges in the public sector, it has never been more important for local authorities to work closely with their suppliers and energy providers to identify and implement change for the better.

John Walsh, from E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business, said: “This is a great example of E.ON and its customers working in partnership to make a real impact in the local community. E.ON designs the most efficient renewable technology and provides innovative financial solutions to help make the design a reality. It’s been a pleasure to work with a forward-thinking council like Denbighshire that welcomes and values new ideas on its path to a low carbon future.”

With more pressure on local authorities to reduce expenditure, improve efficiency and meet environmental targets, schemes like this are becoming essential.