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Sustainable green energy

Alternative energy sources and advances in digital technology are creating a more competitive and dynamic energy market by providing consumers access to greater choice.

According to Ofgem, renewables produced 26% of all electricity in 2017, with this figure expected to increase as associated technology costs decrease.

Reducing the environmental impact of electricity generation and gas to heat homes and businesses is one of the UK’s top energy priorities. This is because the UK is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, relative to levels in 1990. Ofgem states that since the Climate Change Act 2008, over half the reduction in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions resulted from cleaner electricity. However, there has been limited progress in reducing emissions from heat (gas) and transport.

The transition toward more renewable energy and diversified supplies is creating opportunities and challenges for the flexibility of existing supply infrastructure. We can therefore expect to see increased investment to upgrade and replace ageing infrastructure that will supply energy at a reduced environmental impact. A good example of this is the work we are doing to support National Grid by upgrading their electricity interconnector cables and compressor units at Peterborough and Huntingdon.

Case study: How we power communities

Meeting environmental legislation

Costain powering communities

Driven by the need for National Grid’s gas turbine compressors to comply with the European Industrial Emissions Directive, Costain was awarded a contract by National Grid to upgrade its existing compressor stations at Peterborough and Huntingdon, which form part of the National Gas Transmission System. The project was to install two modern and efficient gas-turbine compressors at each site, enabling a more reliable supply of energy for consumers, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions.

New compressors mean more reliable gas supplies, less unforeseen breakdowns and reduced maintenance costs. The result is maintaining safe, reliable and efficient delivery of an energy source used by over 80% of UK households.

Costain began working on the project in January 2014, completing a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study of each site at the end of 2015. The FEED focused on the technical requirements, as well as the estimated investment for the projects. With Costain undertaking the FEED, we were able to offer National Grid technology solutions which produced cost efficiencies and reduced learning curves, along with an awareness of the design and build requirements for the main works phase.


The UK is rapidly moving to a decarbonised society  

The UK is rapidly moving to a decarbonised society. The UK Government has set some clear aspirations and targets to reduce and cut carbon emissions to around 160 MtCO2eper year. Costain's current skills and capabilities are assisting clients to meet these targets. We are currently combining our skill sets in emerging markets to assist clients with accelerating their asset transformation so they benefit from new approaches.

Key research areas that are assisting our clients include:

  • Life cycle engineering to optimise investment
  • Waste management and resource optimisation
  • Vehicle to grid and energy balancing based on demand and supply
  • Hydrogen generation distribution and utilisation
  • Weather prediction and engineering intervention
  • Sustainable energy systems
  • Circular economy in a digital environment.

"Costain has some unique capabilities in the energy market, our technical understanding of cryogenics and fuel systems is providing our experts and partners the skills to benefit from the emerging hydrogen market. Our research is creating opportunities to decarbonise industrial processes and create new fuel sources for transport that assist the UK Government in meeting the carbon reduction targets.”

Terry Tomlinson, technical director of energy at Costain


Technical article - Capturing the value of LNG


National Grid Awards Costain Contract To Upgrade Peterborough And Huntingdon Compressor Stations