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Ideas at work - Merchant Square

Merchant Square

Essential services for business, delivered with energy.

In 2010, SSE Enterprise Utilities and European Land concluded an agreement for the adoption and long-term operation of two energy centres and associated district heating and cooling networks at Merchant Square in the heart of London. The new development combines residential, office and retail accommodation in a stunning waterside location.

Merchant Square, when completed, will comprise six new buildings, including a mix of residential, office and retail uses, regenerating land previously occupied by warehouses and other light industrial units. The development has been designed to exceptional standards by award winning architects. The scheme incorporates 72,000 sqm residential, with affordable housing and commercial space of approximately 37,000 sqm, plus an 8,000 sqm hotel. SSE stepped in to the project at an advanced stage of thedesign and construction process. Working closely with our client, European Land and their contractor, we improved the economic performance of the already installed plant.

SSE worked through the extended commissioning process to maximise the efficiency of the plant (up to and including the metering) to ensure its reliable operation. As a result, we have now taken on the operational risks associated with the performance of the plant. SSE has also taken on other key project risks including future fuel prices, customer heat and cooling demand and customer debt.

For the first phase of the development, SSE Enterprise Utilities has a long term agreement with European Land to transfer the heat assets built by others and to operate and maintain these assets (including the Energy Centres and District Heat Network) serving the first two buildings on the site.

SSE has made a capital contribution to the scheme and will supply heat and cooling to both the prestigious residential apartments and the commercial floor space, including supplies to Marks & Spencer as part of it’s UK Headquarters.

Technology solution

SSE’s technical due diligence team has worked with our client to develop the energy strategy for the future phases of the Merchant Square site to move to a single energy centre approach and avoid the cost and complexity of building further energy centres in each of the buildings yet to be constructed.

The single energy centre approach reduces our client’s capital costs and space requirements and enables SSE to offer a larger capital contribution for the scheme. The single energy centre approach will also provide greater CO2 savings.

SSE has also adopted the HV and LV electrical network on site, and will operate this as a publically licensed network, meaning that customers have complete freedom of choice for their electricity supplier.

The future

As part of our ongoing commitments to this project, SSE’s scope of service for heat and cooling will include:

  • Full customer service provision, including direct billing, for heat and cooling supplies to domestic and commercial customers on site
  • Full maintenance and operation of smart meters and Heat Interface Units (HIU’s) within customer properties
  • Full maintenance and operation of heat and cooling plant in the energy centre.

Residents are assured of top-quality, reliable service and support from SSE’s award winning customer service teams who manage over ten million energy and phone accounts in the UK.

SSE delivers domestic heat prices that provide reliable, benchmarked, savings over traditional heat from individual gas boilers and benchmarked commercial heat and cooling prices to ensure value for money against a traditional approach.


Distributed Energy Infrastructure | 26 Jan 2021

Businesses set to cash in as SSE Enterprise opens up access to energy markets for smaller assets

Manufacturers, building managers, local councils and other large energy users could generate thousands of pounds of income from their assets thanks to a new service launched by SSE Enterprise’s distributed energy business.

SSE Enhance is a smart grid, aggregation and trading platform that allows users to get paid for helping to balance supply and demand across their local network and the electricity network. The platform will give customers access to the Wholesale market, Balancing Mechanism, and Ancillary Services.

Companies, public sector organisations and other customers can receive payments/make savings for reducing their electricity demand during peak periods, or they can reduce their own peaks through optimising and automating local demand against generation/storage. This will help customers manage local constraints, increase security of supply and optimise asset performance.

Customers could also be paid to feed excess electricity from their own assets – like combined heat and power units, solar panels, wind turbines or energy storage batteries – into the grid to help cope with spikes in demand.

Customers can set the parameters for the platform – such as the times of day that they’re prepared to vary their use of electricity on site – and then SSE’s market-leading optimisation software, coupled with its experienced trading team, will optimise and/or trade those assets in response to market events.

Users also receive access to a round-the-clock support and monitoring desk.

This new platform forms the basis of SSE Enterprise’s wider suite of services, that will enable them to partner with organisations to support them on their journey to Net Zero carbon emissions.

SSE Enterprise’s distributed energy business is currently adding certain existing customers’ assets to the system so that they can begin trading their energy.

Stephen Stead, Director of Strategy & Digital Services at SSE Enterprise’s distributed energy business, said: “Creating a platform that combines SGS’s smart grid capabilities with our energy and trading experience is not only a watershed moment for our customers but will also make a significant contribution to the wider efforts of tackling the climate emergency.

“Combining this new solution with our wider Distributed Energy offering will mean we can work with customers to ensure they have the best deployed solution to meet carbon reduction targets. We can offer the full solution – funding, deployment, management and now optimisation.

“This will enable the deployment of more renewable energy generation – like wind turbines, solar panels, biomass plants and energy storage –which may have been inconceivable to customers previously due to capital cost constraints.

“This platform will help customers reduce energy demand at peak times which will help National Grid ESO to balance supply and demand, reducing the need for expensive upgrades to the wires, substations and other infrastructure.”

The platform was built using ANM Strata, a distributed energy resources management system (DERMS) developed by Glasgow-based energy software specialist Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS).

SGS’s programs are already used by companies in Europe and the United States – including UK Power Networks, Laing O’Rourke and Southern California Edison – to manage their energy systems.

SSE and SGS are also working together on Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure project (PIRI), a two year Innovate UK design project, that brings together energy generation, demand and storage, to unlock efficiencies not deliverable under our existing, traditional energy systems.

Graham Ault, Executive Director and Co-Founder of SGS, added: “The launch of SSE Enhance is a major milestone for both SSE Enterprise’s distributed energy business and ourselves.

“Building a platform around ANM Strata has brought our two companies closer together and demonstrated the benefits of harnessing our technology and SSE’s experience in the energy trading markets.

“Working with SSE in this way is a fast-growing part of our strategy to help customers gain access to markets for their energy assets.

“What’s more, we’re continuing to help connect more clean, decentralised, low-carbon power generation to the grid, which will help to tackle the climate emergency and bring Britain closer to its 2050 net-zero target.”

Read moreBusinesses set to cash in as SSE Enterprise opens up access to energy markets for smaller assets