Stoke: a closer look at a leading local authority

Stoke-on-Trent is about to bring heat underground to its citizens. The installation of what will over time become a citywide heat network will begin in 2017. By 2019 some 40 kilometres of pipes will have been installed annually distributing close to 50 GWh of heat to public, commercial and residential buildings in the southern parts of Stoke-on-Trent. Procurement to the project starts in the second half of 2017.

Quick facts about Stoke
  • the local authority (LA) of Stoke covers six towns
  • the LA is inhabited by 250,000 people
  • Local ceramic industry is a key energy intensive user (of gas)
  • Alias of the LA is “The Potteries”
Focus and demand from the city council

Stoke City Council set out a vision at the start of 2015 for an energy policy and strategy which addresses a so-called “energy trilemma”, outlined by them as consisting of:

  • Cost certainty
  • Carbon
  • Convenience and Security

These issues point to the priorities for the local authority, which are important to keep in mind as a supplier in order to adapt your offering towards them. They are already considering heat networks as the preferred form of energy supply where they take a whole system approach. Swedish expertise has contributed to get Stoke’s low carbon energy vision towards the design and implementation phases, read more here. For Stoke, heat networks should be considered as a commercial scheme with the following requirements:

  • Smart network
  • Best available technology
  • CAPEX and OPEX cost analysis across the scheme’s whole life cycle
  • Competitive cost

Simultaneously, Stoke is evaluating geothermal as an option for heat generation as this form of generation would be ideally suited for the implementation of commercial district heating schemes. Another option is to extend the generation with an energy from waste, EfW plant. Until these options are fully evaluated, the district heating scheme will be supplied by an interim plant.

Phase 1

118 buildings in Stoke create the total heat demand for the council, amounting to 48 GW per annum. The first buildings planned to be connected to a scheme would be the University Quarter, consisting of 10 customers and 50 connections. Among the customers are stakeholders such as the university as well as a mix of public, commercial and residential stakeholders. This phase is scheduled to be implemented in 2018. Eventually, the city centre is also to be connected to the network.

The implementation of phase 1 and its consecutive phases will involve the work and support of a competent supply chain in areas such as detailed drawings for trenches, 3D mapping of critical areas, design and operation of energy centres, drawings for connections to and inside buildings, and so on.

Re-cap of heat networks roll-out and implementation in Stoke
  • Scheme design – Q2-3 2017
  • Procurement – Q3-4 2017
  • Phase 1 (University Quarter) – 2018
    • 118 buildings
    • 10 customers
    • 50 connections
    • 17 kilometres of trench
    • 2 (mobile) heat-only boilers with a capacity of 2-4 MW
    • Retrofit installation

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Knowledge sharing from the Swedish Energy Research Centre

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