Midlothian Council, which recently declared a climate emergency, is partnering with Vattenfall as it works to decarbonise the region's heat and power networks
A newly announced partnership between a Scottish council and a European energy giant is to work to bring low-carbon district heating to the east of Scotland.
Midlothian Council is partnering with Swedish state-owned energy firm Vattenfall to establish an innovative new Energy Services Company (ESCo), the bodies announced yesterday. The 50/50 joint venture is intended to deliver a range of innovative energy projects across the south-east Scottish region.
The first of these projects will see Vattenfall install a district heating network at the Shawfair development just south-east of Edinburgh. The low temperature system, which is expected to be operational in 2021, will generate a carbon emissions saving of 75 per cent compared to conventional gas boiler heating, the firm said. Costing £20m, the project is supported with £7.3m from the Scottish Government's Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The heat feeding the network will be sourced from waste heat supplied by FCC Environment, which operates Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils' waste and recycling plant near Milehall. Energy generated in the facility will be fed through a network of pipes to homes in the Shawfair development, a £200m project to build 4,000 new homes, businesses, and retail outlets around a town centre and railway station on the outskirts of the Scottish capital.
"Midlothian is blessed with an abundance of local, low carbon heat potential which means that we can begin the partnership's work with the installation of a state-of-the-art network that will deliver affordable, low carbon heating to local homes at the Shawfair development," said Mike Reynolds, managing director of Vattenfall Heat UK.
"The project provides a model to the kind of progress that can be achieved right now through the deployment of innovative, low carbon district heating networks in the tough challenge of decarbonising the UK's heating supply."
The partnership will also begin actively exploring the potential of thermal storage and other local heat sources to enable the district heating network to expand across Midlothian and beyond, the firm added. This expansion will aim to create a network similar in scale to those delivered in major cities throughout Europe, such as Amsterdam.
"We're very excited to be working with Vattenfall to set up an energy services company for innovative new projects benefitting local residents and businesses in the area and setting us well on our way to a carbon neutral future," said Russell Imrie, Midlothian Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development.
Beyond district heating projects the ESCo may be asked to consider Solar PV, Electric Vehicle charging and direct wire electricity supplies to commercial properties, Midlothian Council said. Over its lifetime, the ESCo is expected to carry out projects worth £100m.
The announcement comes just days after the UK government announced new funding and plans to enhance consumer protection for customers of district heating networks in an attempt to pave the way for the expansion of the nascent sector over the coming years.
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