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CAfE announces start of district energy scheme feasibility work

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAfE) has announced the letting of contracts for feasibility studies for New Zealand's first city heating and cooling District Energy Scheme (DES). A DES 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. Being a "smart grid" it will be possible to capture energy from other sources, including waste heat, as well. Such schemes are common in Europe and North America and can result in significant savings for building owners and their tenants.

CAfE along with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has confirmed selection of the agencies to undertake three feasibility studies.

The studies commissioned from the RFP process 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.

CAfE CEO Merv Altments has welcomed the appointments, "These studies will tell us if Christchurch can realistically take a major step-change towards a more renewable and sustainable energy future. We will be keen to share with Christchurch the outcomes of the studies in early 2012, at which stage we will be better placed to consider the next steps.

"The rebuilding of Christchurch has created a one-off opportunity to move forward with 21st century solutions to our energy requirements without the burden of legacy costs associated with existing building systems," said Mr Altments.

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