Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAfE) this week announced the letting of contracts for feasibility studies for New Zealand's first city heating and cooling District Energy Scheme (DES), which distributes heating and cooling energy to city buildings using an underground network of pipes.
The Christchurch proposals call for the use of renewables as the primary fuel source and, being a "smart grid", it will be possible to capture energy from other sources including waste heat. Similar schemes are already common in Europe and North America and can result in significant savings for building owners and their tenants.
Helping out with the feasibility studies is the EECA who has contributed $120,000 in co-funding.
“Much work needs to be done to establish the commercial and technical viability of such a scheme,” said EECA chef executive Mike Underhill. “An energy scheme that delivers renewably-sourced heat and cooling to the CBD could substantially lower energy costs and carbon emissions, helping the profitability of local businesses, and boosting Christchurch’s reputation as a low-carbon city.”
The three studies commissioned are:
1. Technical study which will determine technical aspects and commercial viability has been awarded to a consortium consisting of Bizcat, Aurecon and FVB.
2. Social, Environmental and Economic study - awarded to a consortium led by MWH Global, Taylor Baines and Associates, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
3. A study considering possible ownership and investment options has been awarded to KPMG.
Octa Associates will project manage the three feasibility studies on behalf of CAfE.