Derry City and Strabane District Council (Northern Ireland, UK) is one of the partners of the SECURE project. During the last 3 years, DCSDC has been working to develop a smarter energy community in Derry and Strabane area. To achieve this objective, it has identified local good energy practices and it has exchanged expertise and knowledge with project partner regions, specially from Nova Scotia in Canada and North Karelia in Finland, but also from Donegal and Leitrim (Ireland), Faroe Islands and Västernorrland (Sweden).
From 2016 to 2019, DCSDC has achieved a series of outcomes within the project. Among others, Derry and Strabane has:
- implemented a Wattics energy monitoring and targeting system;
- installed a 12 kW Solar PV and battery storage in the Irish Street Community Centre’s roof, three 5kW ‘Sonnen batteries’ (an intelligent storage system that adjusts the energy usage) in the community centre’s offices and it will soon start a ‘fit and tell’ study during April 2019;
- upgraded the condensing boiler in Derry’s civic offices;
- installed Combined Heat and Power system in Foyle Arena centre;
Furthermore, DCSDC and project partner Donegal County Council (Ireland) have been working together in the ‘Regional Strategy Consultancy’ for energy efficiency and it has started the process to get the ISO 50001 Energy Management System accreditation, based on the expertise that DCC shared with them.
New energy management system
Talking about ISO 50001 certification, Energy Manager at DCSDC Leo Strawbridge explained that the Council has recently established an energy baseline that includes electricity, thermal and transport use and has reviewed the energy consumption of 6 council buildings, identifying 40 energy reduction actions (i.e., restore VSD -Variable-Speed Drive- control on pool pumps, improve the poorly insulated front entrance doors, better AHU -Air Handling Unit- control, lighting upgrade to LED -Light Emitting Diode- and the installation of CHP -Combined Heat and Power-).
Afterwards, to increase awareness among staff and the public, they have developed energy awareness training events in the Foyle Arena (leisure and events centre) and the Guildhall (city hall) and they have organised 5 key influencer meetings. Finally, following the planning phase, they have documented all the objectives, targets and action plans and they have reviewed energy legislation to continue moving forward once SECURE is finished. According to Leo Strawbridge, they are currently focused in reducing Strand Road Offices’ and Foyle Arena’s thermal load by 5%.
SECURE has enabled DCSDC to develop and raise awareness of energy efficient strategies and technologies within the local council area. Working with other partners and sharing best energy practice has enhanced knowledge and assisted in the development of focused, innovative energy solutions within the region. The knowledge and experience gained from the SECURE project provides a solid foundation for participation in further NPA programmes as listed below:
- SMARTrenew: DCSDC is one of seven partners working on this project which commenced in October 2018. The aim of SMARTrenew is to transfer renewable energy and smart storage solutions to dispersed regions of the NPA promoting smarter energy communities. Smart energy management is required to balance renewables based generation and consumption. ICT system development will be crucial to managing the interaction between energy generation, consumption and storage. The project also aims to develop energy models and policy for wider deployment of this new approach.
- SMARCTIC: DCSDC are one of six project partners planning to work on the SMARCTIC project which commences in September 2019. The SMARCTIC project focuses on the challenge of energy security within NPA communities. This challenge will be viewed from the perspective of the neighbourhood or community planning, and will consider air quality as well as energy efficiency and alternative energy sources. Techniques such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) – first applied in smart city models can be developed and adapted for rural areas, smaller settlements and towns.