Brisbane City Council has signed an agreement for the design and planning phase of an innovative and sustainable CBD District Cooling System to the consortium of Cofely Australia and Thiess Services.
The District Cooling System is a centralised water chilling system which would replace air conditioning chillers and cooling towers in individual CBD buildings with a centralised plant room that supplies chilled water via a system of underground pipes.
Acting Lord Mayor Cr Adrian Schrinner said while the technology was already in use in many projects around the world, Brisbane would be the first Australian city to implement it on such a large scale in a CBD.
“Council is pleased to partner with Cofely Australia and Thiess Services in the development of this flagship energy efficiency infrastructure project,” Cr Schrinner said.
“When combined with Thermal Energy Storage, the district cooling system will chill water during off-peak periods and then supply it to CBD buildings during the day, resulting in significant energy savings and helping to deliver on Council’s vision for a clean, green city.
“We recognise the importance of smart energy solutions in the long-term development of the CBD and have been working towards this goal with CitySmart – our sustainability agency – and industry partners including Energex, who have provided significant financial and resource support for this project.”
The project ties in with the City Centre Master Plan’s smart energy strategy and could eventually deliver energy savings of 10-30 per cent for individual buildings and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 24,000 tonnes per annum.
It will deliver significant cost savings for business by providing greater system efficiency, eliminating capital expenditure on replacing old chilling machines and facilitating a shift to off-peak energy consumption, with peak energy demands expected to drop by up to 20 megawatts per annum.
Cr Schrinner said the initial two-year agreement would enable the contractor to begin securing investment and customers for the project at a time when a number of key developments were planned for the CBD.
“Initial investigations show a CBD-wide project could deliver more than $230 million worth of private sector infrastructure, create more than 500 construction jobs and benefit the economy to the tune of $530 million,” he said.
Energex CEO Terry Effeney welcomed the announcement, which he said would reinforce Brisbane’s credentials as an innovation leader.
“Energex has been a leading partner and contributor to the research and development of the proposed district energy system and we believe this project has the potential to materially reduce peak demand in the CBD and thereby create additional network capacity for future growth,” he said.
Head of GDF Suez Energy Services (Cofley’s parent company) International Division Etienne Jacolin said they were proud to be working on the project.
“We are confident of delivering a world-class district cooling project with Thiess which will deliver energy, capital and cost savings for Brisbane, giving it a competitive edge over other capital cities in terms of affordability and resilience,” he said.
Thiess Services said the contract “will pave the way for a lower energy requirement for Brisbane city for decades to come”.
Council, via CitySmart, announced a tender process for the CBD District Cooling Project on the 10th May 2014 and several large Australian and international companies expressed interest in partnering with the city on the project.