With one of the first constant electricity supplies in the country, Brighton was once at the forefront of electricity generation in this country.
Back in the 1880s, power generation was a very local affair. It was during 1882 that a local enterprise, the Hammond Electric Light Co., began generating electricity at the Gloucester Road Power Station in the town centre. The municipal North Road Power Station, run by the Brighton Corporation, was opened nearby in 1891. Electricity companies at that time weren’t the huge operations then that they are today.
A growing population with a growing desire for electricity inevitably meant that it wasn’t long before a large facility was required. Construction of Brighton A Power Station within Shoreham Port began in 1904. Brighton B, with its two distinctive chimneys, was built from 1948 to 1958, during which time the electricity industry was nationalised.
Shoreham Port – the location of Shoreham Power Station, the current 106m-high £150 million facility which opened on the site of Brighton B in 2002 – is the site of a project which is close to the opposite end of the spectrum to the power stations of the National Grid. It’s the latest venture from Brighton Energy Co-operative whose past schemes have involved adding solar panels to the roofs of churches across Brighton.
Shoreham Port, with acres of roofs and no overshadowing whatsoever, is a perfect spot for multiple arrays of solar panels for, in this case, electricity generation. Brighton Energy Co-operative clearly agrees and has already covered Shed 10 with photovoltaic modules. Their model is fairly straightforward. Over £300,000 has been raised from ethical investors to pay for the installation; each of whom are promised a decent return on their capital using the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme.
As a University of Sussex Electrical & Electronic Engineering graduate, the figures fascinate me, as do other projects which are in the pipeline for the site. Will, Flemmich and the team at Brighton Energy Co-operative will soon be extending the project to other warehouses nearby. The Port Authority itself is to install wind turbines and a firm called Edgeley Green Power is in the process of building a whole new biomass facility within the port area.
Most fascinating of all is an idea from Hove Civic Society to set up a combined heat and power (CHP) pipe network across the city to make use of waste heat from Shoreham Power Station.