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District heating becoming a genuine alternative

Analysing the potential for district heating in Sandwell, UK.

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Greenfield, which was merged into Granlund Consulting in February, specialises in consulting on energy generation and networks, as well as energy generation technologies, in Finland and the UK. Decentralised energy generation, bidirectional energy networks, new energy generation technologies and demand-side response are creating new opportunities in the evolving market for heating and cooling.

In 2017, Greenfield analysed and studied the potential for using district heating in Sandwell, a borough bordering the UK's second city, Birmingham. The analysis showed that the area was well suited for the construction of a district heating network. A large amount of energy is consumed in the area, and an incineration plant planned for construction nearby could provide an inexpensive source of heating energy.  The analysis included an evaluation of the needs of the largest energy consumers in the area. These include a major hospital, educational institutions and blocks of flats.

The working group developed several potential ways of realising a district heating network and it prepared a detailed technical financial analysis of each alternative to assess its feasibility and set out how the solutions could meet targets related to matters including economic development, reducing energy costs and decreasing carbon dioxide emissions.

"The report provided the local government with additional information on the opportunities for district heating in the area. It could be the solution for supporting the area's growth and sustainable development," commented Robert Clark, Greenfield Nordic's Chief Executive.

The working group is currently working on a draft network plan and studying various alternative business models.  This is the final phase of the analysis and it will provide the basis for the local government, which has promoted the project, to transition to the commercialisation phase.

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