The Coronavirus Covid-19 public health emergency touches all businesses in so many ways. Ability to supply, customer demand, customer ability to pay.
People rely on Enviroenergy for heating so the heat station has to be kept going. It has to keep taking the steam to turn into electricity and the hot water to supply the district heating scheme. So that’s where the focus is and the control engineers are being given maximum support.
All the other staff are working from home.
Support is also being offered to people who may be struggling to pay the bills, but whilst emergency credit is being offered (like other suppliers), for heat customers who pay via a prepayment card, they still have to get updates from the point of sale machines (cos that’s how the technology is).
Outturn for end of 2019/20 is likely to be £1/4m better than expected 12 months ago, but there are still a few days to go, and some of our customers (e.g. the shopping centres) are not likely to be drawing the heat they might usually do.
We are also affected by the global changes in energy prices.
Looking to the future, we are hoping to expand in the future, supply heating to the Island site as it is developed and even offer heat station management services to other businesses.
A reminder of how it all started. A district heating scheme to be powered by burning coal (cleaner air in the city needed the coal to be burned in a controlled way) and district heating would be relatively cheap to install when St.Anns was being re-built. (A separate scheme for The Meadows was not to be so successful.)
It was soon converted to burning waste – 100 kilo tonnes is incinerated, (a further 80 kilo tonnes recycled) providing steam at 800 degrees and 30 barrs. 10MW of electricity is supplied to a local private wire network (59 GWh per year) and the condensed steam providing 141 GWh of heat to the district network of 95km of pipes at 85 and 100 degrees at 10 Barrs to 4,800 customers in St.Anns. An infra-red survey of the neighbourhoods from a drone found cracks in the pipes that lost 120 metres cubed of water every day, and repairs triggered have reduced the loss to 10 to 20 metres cubed. All this is heavily regulated.
More could be done to re-use material (e.g. more maintenance that simply replace, use less plastics in the first place, re-process wood and fibre), reduce the amount to be disposed (e.g. the recycling of food waste was lost cos of revenue cuts), extract more materials for re-use (e.g. gasification can extract a greater range of metals; bio-digestion to create gas for burning and compost for soil) but these technologies need new investment and subsidy (most sensibly from taxing the creation of waste). Extracting energy from waste still beats the burial of waste and there will be plenty fo waste to be incinerated for a long time into the future.
Profits for the last year of £487k was reported.
ENGINEERING NUMBERS TO BE RE-CHECKED
Not the threat of meltdown. Hey we’re almost used to it now. Russia. Japan.
Not even the bizarre notion of a melted nuclear pile burying its way into the earth’s core and turning up under China.
No, now it’s the export of control over our energy supply to China. A new kind of progress, enabled by George Osborne. Requiring nuclear to be bought at a wholesale rate almost double the market rate.
It’s been bonkers today. Tackling a monopoly in energy supply by going from a big six to a big eight.
The public know better. The energy market doesn’t work. 60% now believe in state control. Without any political party pushing it.
British Gas raising prices by 10% and giving the boss a £2m bonus. The Prime Minister wishing they wouldn’t. The Energy Secretary asking us to turn thermostats down. A national tv advert campaign to knit woolly hats drink bottles, to raise money for old people to keep warm indoors, voiced over by Graham Norton – apparently it’s Innocent.
In contrast, Caroline Flint defends the resources for greener energy and helping the poor, and believes two-thirds of the mark-up from wholesale prices is profiteering.
Meanwhile threats from experts of power switch off in 2016.
And mechanisms to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions labelled the problem.
There is a better way. Better than paying for expensive nuclear energy. Invest in homes. Reduce energy need. New local systems to draw from the sun, the earth’s heat, the wind and the use of waste for energy and compost.
A new mains for the district heating system to serve the city centre is currently being dug – 8 feet deep.
The pipe is going to have to last a long time cos other things will be built on the site, and although access will have to be possible, it won’t be cheap.
The pipe is part of a £3.5 millon capital investment programme by Enviroenergy.
P.S. When I say very deep, I recognise by the standards of the international civil engineering community, it’s not that deep; it’s just how it struck me at the time.