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Precinct Energy Plant

As a vital step in transforming Australia’s energy landscape, Places Victoria (the State Government’s Urban Renewal Authority) and Cogent Energy (a subsidiary of Origin Energy) established Australia’s first urban distributed energy precinct using cogeneration technology as a part of the Victorian Governments’ Revitalising Central Dandenong initiative.

The Dandenong Precinct Energy Project (PEP) utilises a distributed energy cogeneration plant, providing an effective way for businesses in central Dandenong to access lower carbon electricity and thermal heating and cooling.

Central Dandenong building owners and tenants will be an integral part of Australia’s first urban distributed energy precinct designed to deliver best practice sustainability outcomes. The PEP has been designed so there should be no additional capital or operating cost to building owners or tenants who connect to the PEP compared to a business as usual approach. Central Dandenong building owners and tenants who use energy (electricity and hot water) from the PEP will derive substantial environmental benefits, which can in turn provide improved Green Star and NABERS energy ratings.

How it works

The Dandenong Precinct Energy Project (PEP) will generate electricity from gas fired generators and the waste heat produced in this process will then be captured to heat water and provide heating and/or cooling to buildings within the development precinct. The cogeneration facility will be constructed in a purpose designed building in the heart of the precinct.

The facility will produce up to 6MW of gas fired generation capacity together with boilers and heat exchangers that will feed an underground hot water loop that runs through the entire precinct. Electricity generated at the PEP building will be distributed via the grid network to precinct customers using Cogent Energy’s cogentpower solution. Hot water will be distributed via a Hot Water Reticulation network to buildings within the precinct. The hot water can be used by the building’s domestic hot water, space heating circuits or via an absorption chiller to produce chilled water for cooling.

What is cogeneration?

Cogeneration uses natural gas-powered engines to generate electricity on-site or for export to other buildings in the area. The waste heat from the engine is captured to provide heating to the buildings mechanical services system or as used within the precinct via a distributed pipe network to other buildings in the area.

The waste heat can also be used directly for hot water or converted to chilled water through an absorption chiller for cooling. Using gas as a fuel offers a significant reduction in carbon emissions when compared to coal-fired power generation, offering efficiency gains of up to 80 per cent, versus the grid average and compared to 38 per cent for the best coal fired power station.

Key benefits for businesses and the community

  • Energy competitively priced to grid and GreenPower
  • Electricity from a cogeneration plant emits about 60% less carbon than grid energy
  • Improves energy efficiency and reduces carbon emissions of precinct buildings
  • Can be used to improve the NABERS Energy rating for precinct buildings by up to 1 star
  • Can be used to improve the Green Star rating for precinct buildings by up to 1 star
  • An in-building, near real time “Sustainability Monitor” to show staff and customers that the building or tenant is connected to the PEP and achieving best practice sustainability.