Reducing carbon reliance and lowering costs are key motivations for Edinburgh’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan. As part of the plan, the council hired Ramboll to research the potential of district heating at BioQuarter and Edinburgh International, as well as within the wider community.
Climate change recently jumped onto the world agenda at COP21. The world is now focused on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2.0 Celsius with a strong emphasis on an even lower target of 1.5 Celsius. While plans are underway at the state level, local governments too are seeking to find ways of reducing their city’s greenhouse gas footprint as part of the wider picture.
The Scottish city of Edinburgh is no different, and recently released its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) aimed at reducing carbon emissions through better use and generation of energy. The plan is motivated from a number of quarters, including reducing fuel poverty, currently affecting 26% of its population; protecting the environment; ending reliance on finite fuel sources and imports; reducing costs for businesses; and capitalising on the wide range of opportunities for Edinburgh’s economic development through the expansion of the sustainable energy sector. The SEAP target stands at reducing emissions by 42% of 2005 levels by 2020. In 2012 a 9.5% reduction was met.
To meet the envisioned reduction, the Edinburgh council has developed a range of initiatives in different domains, including initiatives to upgrade home insulation; improve consumer and employee behaviour around the home and business; deploy low carbon infrastructure; invest in sustainable transportation options; and a create ‘smart grid’ is a system that can connect and switch between.
One of those initiatives is a focus on district heating. District heating provides a community with a centralised heating system, and replaces individual, often less efficient, heating solutions. Plants focused on district can provide higher efficiencies and better pollution control than localised boilers, as a result of which it provides one of the cheapest method of cutting carbon emissions. To roll out district heating within parts of the city, the council has reached out to third parties; including consulting and engineering firm Ramboll.
Ramboll is currently active at the city’s BioQuarter and Edinburgh International where it has ran district heating studies aimed at improving the respective energy profiles of the locations for their main stakeholders, including Scottish Enterprise and City of Edinburgh Council. The projects are part of a wider integration of the direct heating networks already in place in the city, such as the network provided by Edinburgh University’s four existing systems. Ramboll is also active in a number of other major projects, including the provision of heat pumps in Leith, and supports the council with its strategic vision for district heating in the city.
“As a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors, Edinburgh joins thousands of European towns and cities in a commitment to reducing carbon. But we go beyond the required 20% target with an ambitious pledge to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020. This will be challenging and will require initiatives on a major scale,” comments Andrew Burns, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council. “We will build on the momentum that has been evident during the consultation on this Plan, and engage all communities and groups across the city, to meet Edinburgh’s target. It is ambitious but I am confident that we can meet this challenge and deliver the benefits of sustainable energy for all.”