- A £41m world-first Energy Superhub will be built in Oxford, making it a model for cities around the world to cut carbon and improve air quality.
- A multi-million award from the UK Research and Innovation will accelerate delivery timescales of the project to decarbonise both heat and transport.
- The Energy Superhub Oxford project involves the deployment of grid-scale energy storage and supports the decarbonisation of transport, power and heat across the city, supporting Oxford City Council in its journey to zero carbon.
- Kensa Contracting will install over 300 Kensa ground source heat pump systems, which will result in 25% lower running costs than traditional gas boilers.
- Pivot Power will create a new connection to National Grid’s transmission network which will service the largest hybrid battery ever deployed, and power a 10 km network of charging stations that will kickstart an electric vehicle (EV) revolution across the city.
- Habitat Energy, an Oxford-based firm, will provide the intelligence to optimise the trading of the battery storage in the power markets, as well as the timing of the EV charging and heat pump activation to maximise value to the end consumer and benefit to the grid.
- redT energy, the UK-based energy storage infrastructure specialist, will showcase its cutting-edge vanadium flow machines.
- The University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and Department of Engineering Science will assess the impacts of the project and advise on how they can be replicated, both across the country and abroad.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Executive Board Member for a Safer and Greener Environment said:
The City Council is working towards a Zero Carbon Oxford to tackle dangerous climate change in the time available to us to save the planet. Uniquely, this £41m once-in-a-generation downpayment on Oxford will move the Council closer to achieving this vision. This project enables the council to move our own vehicles to electric on a faster timescale and, crucially, to install heat energy across homes to tackle fuel poverty.
Dr. Matthew Trewhella, Managing Director of Kensa Contracting said:
Ground source heat pumps are a tried and tested technology that have been shown to produce significant carbon savings, low running costs and zero point of use air pollution. The rapid decarbonisation of the electricity grid over the last 5 years has added more momentum in the push towards the electrification of heat. There have been concerns expressed that shifting load from fossil fuels such as oil, LPG and ultimately mains gas will unduly increase the strain on the electricity grid beyond its capacity – particularly at peak times.
By using smart controls that learn the occupant’s preferences and building heat physics, it will be possible to avoid the peaks of grid strain and shift load to the times when the grid can best accommodate it. Better still, these times also have lower carbon and lower cost electricity which further increases the appeal of ground source heat pumps. This combination means that ground source heat pumps transform from being a potential strain on the grid to becoming part of the solution. When added to the battery storage and electric vehicle charging elements of this project, it creates a powerful energy system that is fit and ready for a low carbon future.