02 Mar 2018

Renca Business Could Benefit Big from District Energy Connection

Renca, a Chilean city in the province of Santiago, is amongst the 10 cities selected nationally to join the District Energy in Cities (DES) Initiative. With the support of the Ministries of Energy and Environment and the partners of the Initiative, all cities will benefit from the DES “light touch”: structured technical assistance in order to develop rapid assessments of needs and opportunities.
As part of its signature study tours, the Initiative visited both the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant and Thermoelectric Power Plant in Renca with city officials. If the city implemented a district energy system, using innovative tech like combined heat and power (CHP), these two enterprises could be connected efficiently sharing waste heat from the power plant to fuel manufacturing processes at the bottling plant. A DES rapid assessment will examine the energy supply, heating/cooling demand, and financial opportunities to determine the feasibility of connecting these enterprises.
According to the findings, the Initiative, alongside its partners, may even explore the implementation of multiple district energy networks in Renca. Both Coca-Cola and the power plant have expressed interest in district energy connections, recognizing their huge cost saving potential from reduced energy expenditures. 
The CHP system would enable Coca-Cola to replace individual boilers, costly providers of heat that use polluting energy and which need constant attention to function properly, with carefree waste heat for their industrial processes. This would use the increasingly popular circular economy and economies of scale to maximize efficiency, reducing the overall energy demand. As these two entities are 11 km apart, it may be more lucrative, and will save even more energy if multiple networks are explored.  
Another bottling plant (CCU) is planned in Renca Industrial Park close to the Coca-Cola Plant. If the rapid assessment proves the 11km distance to be infeasible for connecting Thermoelectrica and Coca-Cola, then the CCU plant, and other companies in the park, would stand to benefit from a second network as well. The possibilities are endless; potential linkages between residential buildings, hospitals, schools are all being explored. As the city expands, the district energy network, or networks, would expand with it, establishing a legacy of efficient energy helping to keep the city’s air clean.
To support these assessments, District Energy in Cities has created a multistakeholder coordination group which includes active focal points in the municipality, such as the Head of Innovation of Municipality of Renca. The group also includes the Heads of Operations of each of the plants that have expressed interest in being part of a smart energy grid: CCU, Coca-Cola, and the Renca thermoelectric power plant. 
After the rapid assessments, as with all of the cities in the District Energy in Cities Initiative, there will be a prefeasibility study which will map out a possible district energy project. Taking the cities all the way to this stage, ripe for investment, accelerates the transition to low carbon and climate resilient energy systems.


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