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[ Spotlight: Heating and ventilation] Low carbon networks study

As part of the electricity distribution price control arrangements that run from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2015, Ofgem has established the Low Carbon Networks Fund (LCNF). The LCNF has £500m to support projects sponsored by distribution network operators (DNOs) to try out new technology, operating and commercial arrangements. The objective is to help DNOs understand what they need to do to provide security of supply at value for money as we move to a low carbon economy. These projects involve DNOs partnering with suppliers,

generators, technology providers and other parties to explore how networks can facilitate the take up of low carbon and energy saving initiatives such as electric vehicles, heat pumps, micro and local generation and demand side management, as well as investigating the opportunities that the smart meter roll out provides. Customer Led Network Revolution (CLNR) was one

technologies. The growth in renewable energy-based technology will fundamentally change the way contractors work, meaning they will have to adapt. However, this will open up a wealth of opportunities for additional work. Eleanor Fox, marketing director at Vokèra, comments:

‘Attending a training course is vital to ensure technologies and installations are clearly understood. It is also imperative that contractors recognise which solutions suit the needs of individual applications. Talking to reputable manufacturers will ensure an unbiased opinion can be gauged – as they will want their products to work to the best of their abilities, and therefore won’t want to recommend a technology that will not perform.’ Heatrae Sadia’s Jon Cockburn adds: ‘We believe

energy effi ciency will continue to be the biggest driver to new product development. The next big issue is the Energy Related Products Directive, which will bring with it mandatory energy labels for water heating products. It will be an interesting time for manufacturers, as many will have to improve the effi ciency of their products to ensure they can still be installed.’

And fi nally Heating and ventilation manufacturers are under increasing pressure to produce products and systems that are energy effi cient. This creates challenges, and electrical contractors need to pay close attention to the claims that are made and, where necessary, ask further questions in order to ensure that the products meet legislative requirements. As more and more microgeneration-based technology

becomes available, this level of ‘due diligence’ will become even more important. Contractors themselves have to make sure they are fully trained and aware of the relevant regulations if they are to reap the fi nancial rewards of this fast growing sector.

28 ECA Today September 2011

The RHI will drive consumer and commercial demand for heat pumps and solar thermal systems

of four programmes to win funding from Ofgem. The key collaborators on this particular initiative are British Gas, Durham University Energy Institute and EA Technologies. Martin Orrill, head of renewable heating at British Gas, explains: ‘The project was initiated to understand and mitigate the likely impact that increased adoption of low carbon technologies will have on the electricity distribution network. This is of great concern to the UK, as the government is keen to de-carbonise home heating. Without signifi cant focus on load shifting customers away from use at peak periods, the UK will have to invest billions to meet peak capacity requirements.’ CLNR is based in Yorkshire, Humberside and the

north east of England, and covers domestic and small business customers across urban and rural areas. Its objective is to deliver a set of pre-defi ned ‘learning outcomes’ that investigate future load and generation profi les for small microgeneration and low carbon technology (LCT). The project started in January 2011 and will close at the end of 2013. It will be rolled out in three distinct phases: ■ 2011 – will focus on enrolling customers and installing equipment;

■ 2012 – will monitor customers and look at how successful the various load shifting techniques are;

■ 2013 – will construct strong technical and commercial fi ndings to publish back to Ofgem and the wider industry Orrill concludes: ‘At a basic level, LCT manufacturers

About the author

Rob Shepherd Rob Shepherd is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to ECA Today, who has worked in the electrical contracting industry for more than 10 years.

will become more aware of grid side issues and more switched on about mitigating the impact of their equipment on the grid at peak times. They may also start to implement time of use tariff equipment, which will be further developed and may become an integral part of some of the low carbon technology offerings. In addition, it is likely that switching functionality that allows the network operators to dim/switch off the equipment for short periods when the grid is most stretched could start appearing. Effectively, these technologies will become “smart”.’

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