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Councilís affordable warmth company celebrates 10th anniversary


A company set up by Aberdeen City Council to deliver affordable heat to council tenants and other properties is set to celebrate its 10th birthday this week.

Aberdeen Heat & Power, General Manager, Ian Booth shows the Lord Provost some of the piping used by the company. Aberdeen Heat & Power was established in 2002 to alleviate fuel poverty and help the City Council meet its carbon reduction commitments.

It now has three combined heat and power sites at Stockethill, Hazlehead and Seaton, supplying heat to more than 1500 homes in 22 multi-storey blocks and to eight public buildings – the Beach Ballroom, Beach Leisure Centre, Linx Ice Arena, Aulton Sports Pavilion, Aberdeen Sports Village, Hazlehead Academy, Hazlehead Swimming Pool, and Hazlehead Joe Paterson Sports Pavilion.

The company recently moved into larger premises as it gears up to expand its district heating network in the city – and will welcome Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam to its Cotton Street headquarters on Thursday (15 November), along with other invited guests, to mark a decade of delivering affordable warmth.

The Lord Provost said: "Aberdeen City Council led the way in 2002 in launching combined heat and power, setting a high standard in energy efficiency for other local authorities in Scotland to follow.

"The initiative has been a major success story, lifting thousands of our tenants out of fuel poverty, cutting the city council's power bills for its own premises, and helping the planet at the same time by significantly reducing our carbon emissions. Everyone who has been involved in running Aberdeen Heat and Power over the past 10 years deserves full praise for delivering a service of such real value."

A £1 million grant from the Scottish Government recently allowed the network to be extended from the Beach Leisure Centre to the city centre, where heat connections to the Town House, Hanover Community Centre and Constitution Court sheltered housing complex are imminent. The system will also provide heat to the new Health Village under construction in Frederick Street – and in 2014 the company will also provide heat to the new aquatic centre being built beside the Sports Village.

Aberdeen Heat & Power aims to continue to expand the district heating network further through the city centre to domestic and commercial customers, which will lead to further energy centres being constructed.

CHP is designed to be an efficient, cost-effective, low-carbon technology which can provide heat at an affordable price.

The technology has an efficiency rate of around 85%, in contrast to conventional power stations which operate at only 35-40% efficiency. CHP significantly reduces the use of fossil fuels and reduces the CO2 emissions, which are widely regarded as contributing to climate change.

Each installation consists of a gas-fired generator which creates electricity for sale to the grid and exhaust heat which is fed into the district heating network of pipework to deliver warmth and hot water to homes and other buildings. Stand-by boilers automatically maintain heat to the network at times of generator outage for maintenance

Underground pipes are efficient and highly insulated, so heat is delivered to the point of use with minimal losses. Inside buildings the hot water passes through conventional radiator systems – and apart from the absence of a boiler in each dwelling there is no noticeable difference between a building using district heating and one with a conventional heating system. The boiler is simply replaced with a heat exchanger.

Maintenance costs are also lower with a district heating system than for conventional heating systems because there is only one centralised plant to maintain rather than a large number of boilers in many properties.