Sydney Town Hall powers up with trigeneration
A low-carbon trigeneration plant is now powering, heating and cooling Sydney Town Hall and neighbouring Town Hall House, where 1500 City of Sydney employees work.
Trigeneration is a low-carbon form of energy production, with less than half the carbon emissions of the coal-fired plants that generate around 80 percent of Sydney’s electricity. The plant has been gradually phased in over recent months and is now fully supplying the City’s civic buildings on working weekdays from 7am to 10pm.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the 1400-kilowatt system is expected to cut carbon emissions by more than 40,000 tonnes over its 30-year lifetime, equivalent to 1500 small cars.
“Installing trigeneration power at Town Hall is already helping us reduce our reliance on coal-generated energy hauled in from the Hunter Valley and allows us to power, heat and cool our buildings from a clean, local supply,” explains Moore. “Decentralised plants like this one offer the grid more reliability.”
Moore continues, “As well as meeting the weekday energy needs of Sydney Town Hall and Town Hall House, the rooftop generation plant is ready to export significant amounts of electricity to the grid. This could help manage peak power demands and defer costly investment in electricity network upgrades.
“Trigeneration is part of our practical portfolio of sustainability programs to cut carbon emissions by 70 percent based on 2006 levels, along with building retrofits for energy efficiency, installing solar panels on the buildings we own and offsetting carbon emissions.”
Trigeneration already operates in many properties across Sydney, including commercial buildings like Qantas Flight Services, Google, 1 Bligh Street, 133 Castlereagh Street, 20 Bond Street; leading community clubs like Rooty Hill RSL and Castle Hill RSL; and multiple local governments like Hornsby, Leichhardt, North Sydney, Willoughby and Wagga Wagga Councils.
The City of Sydney received a grant of $3.05 million from the Federal Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program for the trigeneration project. The system was designed and installed by leading national building services contractor AE Smith.
The plant uses seven 200-kilowatt capstone micro-turbines that can each turn down to a tenth of their total power output, meaning they can follow the electrical demand in the building during both summer and winter months.
Trigeneration is an extremely efficient decentralised energy technology where electricity is made near where it is used, avoiding the need to bring electricity over long distances. It replaces coal-fired electricity and reduces emissions from connected buildings.
Producing energy locally helps avoid expensive upgrades to the NSW electricity grid of poles and wires, which have pushed up power prices. Consumers are forced to pay for upgrades to an ageing and inefficient network that moves coal-fired electricity from the Hunter Valley to Sydney.
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This article also appears in the December/January issue of Facility Management magazine.