The Chipping community energy project

This next stage is now underway after Prospus Group won the tender and are being funded and supported via the Rural Community Energy Funds.

Prospus Group will be investigating and progressing an innovative solution of capturing ground source heat in localised shared cluster energy networks operating at ground (ambient) temperature. The shared ambient loop will be connected to ground source heat pumps in the individual dwellings, and where appropriate supported by solar generation. The ability to develop these small shared ambient loop offers a more cost effective and efficient heat solution for villages like Chipping, helping to make energy more affordable.

The project has the following primary aims:

To build understanding of the potential low carbon solutions and possible benefits within the community

We will do this through this community website and through on-going community updates and engagement activities as the project develops.

To engage the community in the project development process to ensure the community is instrumental in shaping the project as it develops

Through the on-going energy survey, feedback process, and drop-in sessions we will seek the community's input into the project. This will be important in helping to shape the project as it develops.

To raise the profile of the project to key stakeholders

Community support for the project will be key to its ultimate success. By registering interest in the project, you will not only ensure that you are kept updated as the project develops, but you will also allow us to better understand where the greatest interest is within the village for the localised ambient networks. Your support will also help us to promote the project more widely to key stakeholders.

The project is targeting an application to the Government's 'Green Heat Network Fund', which is looking for innovative projects that demonstrate the capacity to achieve significant carbon reductions. Therefore, the more homes that register interest in the scheme in Chipping, the better the prospects of securing capital grant funding for a future community heat network in Chipping.

To improve understanding of the energy needs of the varied housing stock in Chipping

As part of project, Prospus Group will be undertaking detailed energy surveys of 20 properties in Chipping. The surveys will be completed by specialist heating engineers who will assess each property to establish their energy needs, their suitability for a heat pump-based heat system, likely issues or constraints for a heat pump-based heating system, and the opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

Each survey will take approximately one hour and will be completed at no cost to the homeowner.

If you would like to be considered for an energy survey, please register your interest, and complete our survey here.

To develop a heat map for the village

Based on those who register interest in the scheme the project team will be able to better understand those areas of the village that would be most suitable for the development of the localised shared cluster heat networks.

If you are interested in finding out more about the scheme or are interested in joining an energy network and haven't yet registered interest in the scheme or completed the survey, please do so here.

To undertake technical surveys and investigations

As part of the project, we will drill a test borehole and run thermal analysis on that test borehole to assess the suitability of the local geology for a ground source heat pump based solution.

To develop a conceptual energy system design

Based on the information gained from the energy surveys, the design engineers will then develop computer models for the five most representative house archetypes within the village. These models will then inform the conceptual designs of a heat pump based energy system for those five house archetypes, which will provide key information to the team on the requirements of the proposed energy system.

Whilst it should be possible for the heat pump system to provide a viable and effective heating system for most properties in Chipping, it is possible that the energy surveys identify that it is not practical to install a heat pump based system in all house types in Chipping. This analysis will be very important in shaping the project as it develops.

To assess the effectiveness of using lower temperature heating systems to heat homes

Heat pumps work most efficiently at lower temperatures (i.e. the water pumped around the central heating system is around 35'C - 40'C) which is why new-build properties with heat pumps often have underfloor heating. Heat pumps can also work well at flow temperatures up to 50 degrees but are much less efficient if heating to the same temperature as an oil or gas boiler (usually 65'C - 75'C). Heat pump based systems therefore need special low temperature radiators, or larger radiators than would be required for an oil or gas based system. The size of the pipework used in a lower temperature heat pump based central heating system may also impact efficiency. ALL properties benefit from being well insulated and minimising cooling draughts as this will reduce the amount of energy required to achieve a comfortable temperature. Part of our work will be to assess some of the specific issues and constraints associated with lower temperature heating systems for properties in Chipping.

To forecast the energy costs for the different house types within the village

The outputs of the energy modelling will help the team to better understand likely annual energy costs for the different house types for the proposed energy system.

To develop a techno-economic model for the proposed energy system

Based on the conceptual energy design and the heat map of properties that have registered interest in joining the heat network, the team will develop a techno-economic model for the proposed energy network. This model will look at the costs to build and operate the system, the opportunity to secure grant funding, and the forecast energy costs for consumers.

This work will also investigate options for how the project could be funded, its ownership structure and governance, as well as exploring some of the technical details for the scheme, e.g. the likely headline terms and conditions for joining the energy network.

To better understand what actions are required for planning and other consents or constraints for the system

Having developed the conceptual design for the system, the team can then determine what consents will be required for the scheme and start engaging with key stakeholders and third parties as part of the process for securing those consents. This could include planning consents and agreement with the highway authority to lay pipes in the public highway. It will also include engagement with the local grid operator to better understand if there are any electrical grid constraints that may impact on the proposed system.

Landownership and third-party land agreements

The conceptual design will inform the team about the possible locations for the localised pipe and borehole networks. The team will investigate land ownership for the proposed energy system infrastructure and engage with relevant landowners.

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