While at Places Victoria/VicUrban (now Development Victoria), NAVIRE’s Dominic Arcaro and Andrew Iles developed Australia’s first privately owned, cross title precinctual low emission cogeneration energy project (PEP) in central Dandenong. The PEP is a purpose designed building in the heart of the central Dandenong precinct. The PEP can produce up to 6MW of gas fired electricity generation capacity together with boilers and heat exchangers that feed an underground hot water reticulation network.

The task

  • Ascertain market acceptance (ie. financier, developer and tenant) of precinctual low emission energy sources
  • Collect PEP customer usage profile data to provide valuable information regarding built form energy performance and demand – to be applied to future masterplan design guidelines
  • Future-proof developments by making it easier for them to achieve higher green star ratings and retain their investment value
  • Make central Dandenong a more attractive office location

The responsibilities

  • Project business case and operational governance structuring
  • EOI / RFP procurement and subsequent Development & Operations Agreement negotiations with Origin Energy/Cogent
  • PEP infrastructure delivery

Where it’s at

  • Operations commenced Q1 2013

What’s been achieved

  • The PEP generates electricity from gas-fired generators and the waste heat produced in this process is then captured to heat water and provide heating and/or cooling to buildings within the central Dandenong development precinct
  • Central Dandenong building owners and tenants who use energy (electricity and hot water) from the PEP derive substantial environmental benefits, which can in turn provide improved Green Star and NABERS energy ratings
  • As there is currently no thermal energy regulator in Australia, a commercially transparent governance structure was developed to ensure that the private owner and operator of the PEP could not exploit its monopoly position in relation to the provision of thermal energy

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 building’s mechanical services system or is 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% versus the grid average and compared to 38% for the best coal fired power station.