The Council is working with energy company E.ON to decarbonise two existing district heating networks and to support the large scale delivery of low carbon and zero carbon development. This will be achieved through investing in an interconnector project. This is essentially 7.5 kilometres of trunk heat main which will take recoverable heat from a business park and connect it to the district heating networks. The council will own this asset and then buy and sell low carbon heat in bulk over a 25 year period.
What benefits will it deliver?
Investing in this type of asset is new territory for the council. The business case has been approached on a triple bottom line basis. The project is expected to make an 8% return and save up to 17,000 tonnes of carbon per year. The council has already committed to putting the half of the return in to creating a social fund to benefit local residents who are also district heating customers, for example, by supporting community infrastructure.
The rationale for the council investing in the project includes the following benefits:
Decarbonising existing networks and resolving a section 106 obligation
Enabling cost effective delivery of a large scale zero carbon development
Regulatory compliance (Future Homes standard)
Social, for example, addressing fuel poverty
Financial, for example, a steady, long term return on investment and social / community dividend.