Benefits for Local Authority/Business Users
One of the biggest surprises we found when connecting large customers was how small a peak demand they required compared with the oil fired facilities that were previously provided. The over provision was enormous. A factor of three was quite common but there has been worse. Even though oversized heat exchangers have often been installed, based on the original provision, these are a mere fraction in costs and space compared with oil boilers.
Benefits for the Local Economy
From an economic view point the district heating scheme contributes a significant role in the Shetland economy:-
About £1,000,000 per annum of the income from sales stays in Shetland rather than paying for oil which would go straight out of the economy. In addition the customers are saving between £300,000 and £1,000,000 depending on the price of oil.
We are playing an important part in reducing fuel poverty at a time when, in the UK, more are falling into it as a result of rising prices. Just as importantly, local businesses are cushioned from the fuel price uncertainty helping to provide some stability. For services such as local government and the Health Board this is equally important where budgets are under pressure.
New large buildings such as the museum and high school will have massive capital savings on plant facilities. The area required for a heat exchanger can be less than 20% of that for boilers and there is no need for storage tanks and flue.
Large users are also finding they have significant reductions in maintenance over conventional boilers. Also, administration is no longer required for ordering and monitoring fuel.
Up until recently we were creating around £700,000 of civil engineering works a year of which around 75% was local input with the remainder being materials.
Houses being converted to wet radiator systems generated over £300,000 of plumbing works which was mostly local labour input.
The district heating scheme directly employs five people full-time and two part-time. It out-sources most of its maintenance works to the private sector.
The Energy Recovery Plant also plays and important economic role in addition to its environmental benefits:
*Creating about twenty direct jobs
* Reducing landfill tax which is rising significantly each year
The scheme has reached capacity until another heat source can be developed. Options currently being examined include:-
(a) Wind power with a large thermal storage tank
(b) Waste heat from the proposed new power station
(d) Waste Oils
(e) Heat pumps
(a) is looking like the most promising short term answer but will not allow the scheme to expand. It could allow consolidation where mains have been already laid.
Expansion will be possible if (b) happens.
The scheme has proved popular and we have many applications for connections.