Kensa starts deploying smart heat pumps at Oxford ‘superhub’ project


Heat pump firm Kensa and housing provider Stonewater have started installing the first smart heat pumps as part of the Oxford ‘superhub’ smart grid project.

Through smart controls and tariffs, the heat pumps will help balance the grid, demonstrating how they can be used to enable a smart, flexible energy system while reducing costs and carbon.

Stonewater is installing the first 60 heat pumps via a communal ground array at its Blackbird Leys development. Another 240 will be deployed over the next two years as part of the project.

The Energy Superhub Oxford project brings together two huge battery storage systems (50MW lithium plus 2MW flow storage) that will feed a network of electric vehicle charging points via a six mile private wire.

As well as powering a public ‘ultra-rapid and fast’ charging network of around 100 charging points, the plan is to run the private wire to council depots on either side of the city, enabling electrification of Oxford’s fleet, ultimately even the bin lorries.

The heat pumps do not require a connection to the private wire, but will be linked to a shared ground loop system. They will be controlled by the same software that Habitat Energy is developing to trade power from the battery.

Other project partners include Oxford City Council, Pivot Power, Invinity Energy Systems and the University of Oxford.

Kensa Contracting said it expected to complete installation of the first 60 heat pumps by the end of this year. Managing director Matthew Trewhella said they should save residents up to 25 per cent versus standard heat pumps, by making use of time of use tariffs (via Octopus) and by using internet connected Switchee smart heating controls.

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