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Oxford Energy Superhub progresses as the first heat pumps are installed

Image: Kensa Contracting.

Image: Kensa Contracting.

The Oxford Energy Superhub has hit another milestone with the installation of heat pumps now underway.

Kensa Contracting has begun the installation of its Shoebox ground source heat pumps in 60 of housing provider Stonewater’s Blackbird Leys homes in Oxford.

The installation was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Leon Storer, assistant director of capital investment at Stonewater, welcomed this development and said he was delighted to be part of “this innovative and forward-thinking project.”

“By replacing our residents’ current high carbon night storage heaters with Kensa’s ground source heat pump systems, we’re able to not only work towards a more sustainable future, but an economical one too. This is because a benefit of transitioning to this type of heat pump system is the significant cost savings it provides for residents.”

The installation of heat pumps forms just one part of the project, which will also see a ‘world first’ grid-scale hybrid battery storage installed by Pivot Power and redT.

Additionally, the project will include a switch to electric vehicles (EVs) for council-owned ODS vehicles, a ‘Try before you buy’ scheme for Oxford’s Hackney Carriage drivers, a new charging network and hub of public chargers and the world’s largest hybrid battery energy storage system. The first six EVs were delivered to Oxford City Council in April, with a further 27 to be added throughout the project.

There will ultimately be over 300 of Kensa’s Shoebox heat pumps installed as part of the project, with AI-powered software will be adopted to forecast energy demand and supply.

Dr Matthew Trewhella, managing director of Kensa Contracting said: “The residents will benefit from clean, renewable heat with savings of up to 25% compared to a standard ground source heating system.

“Smart meters enable residents to switch to Octopus’s unique Agile Tariff, which varies the electricity price every half hour and optimises energy use when renewable power is prevalent on the grid, and together with Switchee internet connected smart heating controls will automatically run resident’s heating systems at the lowest cost times to reduce their bills while maintaining their comfort levels, and caring for the environment.”

It has been a bumper year for Kensa, after Legal & General acquired a 36% share in the company.

The Oxford Energy Superhub one of four project being supported by more than £100 million of Industrial Strategy funding, selected by then-energy minister Claire Perry in April 2019. Despite the delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kensa is expected to have installed the heat pumps by the end of 2020.

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