Designing, developing and operating a low carbon on-site energy centre.
Waitrose has opened its first biomass powered store at East Cowes, Isle of Wight. The innovative energy centre produces low carbon heat, electricity and cooling for the store.
What was Waitrose looking for?
Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), has a vision to create off-grid energy centres for stores and other sites, such as distribution centres or farms, using locally sourced sustainable woodchips. This will play an important part in helping the supermarket chain meet its target of achieving an absolute carbon emissions reduction of 15% by 2020/2021 when compared with 2010 levels.
How did we help?
MITIE developed and operates Waitrose’s first biomass-powered, low carbon energy centre on the Isle of Wight. The centre provides electricity, heating and hot water as well as cooling to the East Cowes store. It will contribute £150,000 per year to the local economy in the form of jobs and purchasing of supplies.
What was the outcome?
The energy centre will save East Cowes Waitrose 69% of grid electricity and 84% of gas, and reduce its carbon emissions by more than 750,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of 1,500 transatlantic flights. The model has already been carried forward to a second store, at Bracknell in Berkshire. Over time the energy centre may even become a community energy hub, supplying heat to local homes and community facilities.
An energy strategy partnership
Waitrose chose MITIE as a partner in developing an energy strategy that not only helped them meet JLP’s sustainability targets but also enabled them to support the local community and economy. The energy centre is both a beacon of commercial and sustainable development.
The joint venture is implemented through an Energy Services Company (ESCo). Using this model, there is no upfront financial investment from the client. MITIE evaluates the energy strategy, designs and develops the infrastructure, and operates and maintains the system over the contract term.
Sustainable, efficient technologies
MITIE developed state-of-the-art technology to generate the required outputs from natural woodchip fuel. We then added an adsorption chiller to the circuit, producing cooling for the store.
This innovative tri-generation system made East Cowes the first supermarket in the UK to derive most of its electricity, heating and cooling from renewable energy, creating an energy-efficient and carbon-negative store. A visitors’ centre has been built to showcase the technology. The woodchip biomass itself is coppiced from sustainably managed local woodlands, which means it is a renewable fuel.
The benefits – now and in the future
The energy centre at the 18,000 sq foot store m2 East Cowes store, will reduce consumption of grid electricity by 69%, and gas by 84%. This will reduce carbon emissions by more than 750,000 tonnes a year.
The centre will also produce sufficient surplus energy to heat up to 170 local homes, placing Waitrose at the heart of its local community. The collaboration between MITIE and Waitrose has now extended to the store in Bracknell, Berkshire, again using local sustainable biomass fuel. Our technology and ESCo model have the potential to be rolled out across many more stores and other sites, transforming Waitrose’s long-term energy strategy.