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Key industry experts joined together on Thursday for the ‘Decarbonising Heat’ event hosted by flexible energy specialist Flexitricity.
The ‘Decarbonising Heat: heat pumps and demand side flexibility’ webinar event brought together key industry thought leaders – Alastair Martin, CSO at Flexitricity, Dave Pearson, Director at Star Renewable Energy, and Roddy Yarr, Assistant Director in Sustainability and Environmental Management at University of Strathclyde to discuss the challenges and opportunities of decarbonising heat as the UK faces its 2050 commitment to deliver net zero.
The event’s key focus was on heat pumps, flexibility of heat demand while also providing real-life examples of successful projects.
Attendees during Thursday’s event gained expert insight into heat and demand side flexibility – from businesses with on-site CHPs and heat pumps to large heat networks. Attendees also had the opportunity to gain practical advice for creating greater efficiency, financial returns and decarbonising heat generation.
Speaking at the event about large-scale heat pumps and flexibility in net zero Alastair Martin, CSO at Flexitricity said: “Heat can be stored far more cheaply than electricity and it’s usually much better at handling short variations in supply. We know what decarbonisation means for most heat networks and that is a move to large scale heat pumps, so if you’re in the business of turning electricity into heat the call to you from me is to recognise the value in the way that you do that by operating flexibility – all heat networks have some inertia, most have heat storage, some have a lot and all of that has value.
“A net zero economy needs a fully decarbonised electricity system and whichever technology choices are made that means a lot of flexibility of different forms is required.
“Whatever the power networks need they pay for and for heat pump developers and heat network developers that means better rates of return, lower bills for your customers and genuinely green home and business heating. “
Dave Pearson, Director at Star Renewable Energy discussed heat pumps and district heating and the role of policy in delivering a low carbon future.
He said: “Policy is at the core of the challenge and the opportunity. We are still building brand new houses with gas boilers in them and that’s the scale of the challenge that we have got – if we get the right policy then we can do the right things.”
During the event Roddy Yarr, Assistant Director in Sustainability and Environmental Management at University of Strathclyde discussed the future for heat and the moves that have been made by the University such as deploying a bold and innovative climate neutral district vision.
Roddy commented: “Our plan aim is delivering net zero…our trajectory is very much now moving away from gas and onto other more sustainable energy systems.
“In an agile world we are looking at space utilisation, how we make our estate much more efficient in that sense, but also we need to find different ways to get to a net zero position and climate resilience.
“Our approach is a whole systems approach, it’s at scale collaboration with city partners as we can’t do this on our own. In the city centre we’re working with partners and a consortium of experts helping us to design a climate neutral city innovation district, taking heat from the River Clyde and thinking about how we distribute that heat to businesses and organisations within the innovation district, including residents on the border of that district.”
Flexitricity has generated over £20million for its energy partners since it started live operations. It is the first supplier in the UK to provide full, active participation in the Balancing Mechanism for demand response assets.
The Edinburgh-headquartered business has over 500 MW under management – a virtual power station helping National Grid meet the energy demands of the UK.
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