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Green energy scheme a 'huge step forward' for city


THOUSANDS of homes in Leicester will now be provided with environmentally friendly energy, following the completion of the city's £15million district energy scheme.

The Leicester District Energy Scheme is a 25-year partnership between Leicester City Council and Cofely District Energy. It will provide low-carbon heating and energy to around 3,000 homes and a number of council-owned and other buildings.

Spanning six city estates, the system is the largest of its kind in the UK to be installed in one phase. Work to lay the 7km of pipework required took around 18 months, but has been completed five weeks ahead of schedule.

It uses a combination of over five megawatts of low carbon gas-fired combined heat and power and upgraded biomass boilers, which will help achieve carbon savings of around 12,000 tonnes per year by 2014. It is anticipated that these carbon savings will rise to more than 20,000 tonnes per year by 2020.

It includes a new 3.2 megawatt combined heat and power (CHP) engine at the University of Leicester, and will also provide heating to several city council buildings including De Montfort Hall, the Town Hall, Moat Community College and Leicester Central Library. It is also hoped that the scheme will soon provide heat to HMP Leicester

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Rory Palmer said: "This is a major milestone for Leicester and our commitment to making this a low carbon city. The District Energy Scheme will help us make dramatic carbon reductions and is a huge step forward to helping us achieve energy stability in the city.

"It has been an incredibly complex and ambitious project, covering around 7km of some of the city's busiest roads. We are incredibly grateful for the patience that people have shown while this work has been carried out.

"Leicester's district energy scheme is already leading the way nationally. But we want to build on that and encourage other local organisations to get on board and help extend the scheme's benefits further across the city."

Simon Woodward, Chief Executive of Cofely District Energy, said: "We are incredibly proud to have been involved in this ambitious project. The Leicester District Energy scheme is one of the largest projects of its type in the UK to be constructed in one phase.

"Installation has been completed ahead of schedule, and on budget. Now fully operational, the scheme will help save 12,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. It will stand as an example of what can be achieved with the vision and ambition that Leicester City Council has shown."

Grant Chapman, Deputy Director of Estates at the University of Leicester, said: "We have a sector-leading carbon reduction target of 60 per cent by 2020. The district energy scheme will help the university make the first big reductions against this target."

The completed scheme was officially launched today (Tuesday, November 27) on the same day as a national energy conference – organised by the Decentralised Energy Knowledge Base – took place at De Montfort Hall.


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