SSE is the broadest based energy company in the UK, with interests in many areas including electricity and gas production, distributing and supplying electricity and gas to homes and businesses, and providing home services like wiring cover and central heating maintenance.
SSE is aiming to change how energy is made and used, to work towards a lower carbon future. Current projects and innovations include wave and tidal energy, onshore and offshore wind, biogas, demand reduction, carbon capture and storage, infrastructure investment for electric vehicles, fuel cells and combined heat and power.
Power of Now’ exhibition and all-electric vehicle centre
In March 2012, the doors opened on a landmark interactive renewable energy public exhibition, and the UK’s first dedicated free EV (electric vehicle) charging, hiring and parking facility. The custom built exhibition known as ‘Power of Now’ at Scottish Hydro Centre for Renewable Excellence is housed on the ground floor of SSE’s flagship building, One Waterloo Street in Glasgow. The project celebrates renewable energy, showcasing exhibits alongside a free all-electric vehicle space under one roof for the first time anywhere in the UK.
Aspiring to attract thousands of visitors and school children each year, the innovative exhibition demonstrates Scotland’s potential in renewable energy through production, design, engineering and manufacturing.
The generation of electricity from renewable sources will play a significant role in achieving the UK carbon reduction targets. The exhibition reveals an insight into exciting new technologies and products which harness natural sources, including onshore and offshore wind, battery technology, hydro, wave and tidal, micro renewables and smart technology.
Just some of the technology on display includes:
- An interactive custom built exhibit designed by Glasgow Science Centre, building on the history of how electricity is produced by hydro generation. This exhibit is designed to demonstrate how a hydroelectric dam works and the amount of energy required to move water. Visitors get a ‘hands on’ experience, creating hydroelectricity by releasing water from the upper reservoir and watching as the turbine turns and the lights in the cityscape are illuminated
- A technologically advanced LED simulation of the electricity network, designed to show how renewable generation connects to the transmission network and is then transported into the home.
- Visual display of a ‘smart home’ featuring the latest in environmentally friendly technology and micro-renewables for the home like ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, electric heating and the latest boiler technologyA smart home display – learn how much energy household appliances consume and take away information on how you can save energy.
- A near life sized wind turbine base, visitors can step inside and be amazed by looking up into one of the largest infinity mirrors in the UK.
- Learn the principles behind wind turbine design with interactive learning pods and feature touch points including an exhibit which will test your skills at placing wind turbines in the most strategic way to power Glasgow!
- Model of Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave power technology capturing energy in nearshore waves and converting it into clean sustainable electricity.
- Model of the Seven Pacific construction vessel, the ship used to lay offshore electricity cables by Subsea 7.
The all electric vehicle space features six charging car park spaces and electric car hire from Europcar and Peugeot as well as an all electric test car, perfect for trying out the latest technology in the city. For those who prefer two wheels rather than four, electric scooters and bikes are also available to rent.
The ‘Power of Now’ will feature SSE’s partner organisations including Mitsubishi Power Systems, Siemens, Subsea7, Aquamarine Power, Europcar, Dimplex, Glasgow Science Centre, Peugeot and IBM.
SSE Chief Executive, Ian Marchant said: “We are very proud to bring the ‘Power of Now’ at our Scottish Hydro Centre for Renewable Excellence to Glasgow, one of Europe’s most sustainable cities, and believe our investment and partnership working will bring environmental, economic and social benefits for generations to come to all who either visit for educational purposes or use the all-electric facility.”
Please visit www.scottish-hydro-centre.co.uk for more information.
Reducing CO2 from energy use in SSE Buildings
Like most large organisations, SSE is involved in the UK Government CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, which aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
SSE recognises that there are many opportunities for CO2 savings through the efficient use of energy and it is important for SSE to reduce energy use, in line with the advice we give to customers.
SSE is targeting a 25% reduction in energy use across 200 locations and the aim is to reach this target by 2017. SSE’s performance will be publicly available in a Performance League Table on www.environment-agency.gov.uk, to allow comparisons between the organisations taking part.
One way SSE is actively trying reduce energy use is by encouraging changes in staff behaviour. An internal campaign ‘War on Watts’ was launched internally in 2012, this asks staff to:
- Switch off monitors and PCs at the end of the day
- Switch off monitors if away from desk from lunch or a meeting
- Switch off equipment not in use
- Switch off lights in rooms which are not being used
- Set the room temperature at an appropriate level
- Report any examples of energy wastage
To focus attention during the campaign and allow staff to track the results of their actions, a weekly league table showing performance against a CO2 reduction target is published. Other useful information is also produced weekly including a graph which shows peaks and dips in electricity use in each 24 hour period during the week.
SSE Greenwatt Way Zero Carbon Home Development
SSE (Scottish & Southern Energy) is the first utility company in the UK to build and monitor its own development of 10 zero carbon homes to better understand what customers will need as the UK moves towards a low carbon economy.
The award winning Code Level 6 development is located in Slough, Berkshire and the main aim of the project is to study energy consumption in a zero carbon environment. Although the industry is constantly revising design codes, very little is understood as to how much heat and power is needed and how occupants will ‘use’ a zero carbon home.
The people living here are vital to the research and include SSE employees, Slough Borough Council staff, and local families.
One of the largest developments of zero carbon homes in the country, Greenwatt Way consists of 1 bed flats, 2 and 3 bed terraces, 3 bed detached homes, an Energy Centre, a project meeting room and a communal garden.
Renewable heating and hot water is supplied via a district heating scheme, housed in an adjacent Energy Centre. This plant room includes Solar Thermal panels, an Air Source Heat Pump, a Ground Source Heat Pump, and a Biomass Boiler.
Solar Photovoltaic tiles cover the south facing roofs and generate sufficient renewable electricity to meet the annual demand of each household.
SSE will monitor and analyse the day to day experiences of those living in our homes. They will share this learning, gathered first hand, throughout the SSE Group and also with our project collaborators, suppliers, partners and customers.
If the UK wishes to be succeed in slashing carbon emissions in buildings, we desperately need to rollout more demonstration projects like Greenwatt Way, where we can show the products exist, we can learn the skills, and we have the knowhow to do things differently.
SSE have shown great leadership and foresight in building Greenwatt Way and undertaking, in collaboration with the residents, a 2 year programme to learn about future energy use as well as testing the costs and efficiency of differing renewable energy technologies.
The findings will be eagerly awaited by the wider industry!
Chris Wilford Associate Director, PRP Architects
For more information, please visit our website www.ssezerocarbonhomes.com