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Council wins cash to explore extension to green heat network

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

LEICESTER is set to receive a share of £2.8milllion of government cash set aside to help the UK expand its green heat networks.

The city council is one of 38 local authorities to have won a share of the latest tranche of Department of Energy and Climate Change funding.

Leicester’s successful bid for £80,400 will pay for feasibility studies, which could be the first step to extending Leicester’s existing district heating network into three more areas of the city.

Over the next seven months, the council will work with consultants to gauge the heating demand in the Waterside regeneration area, around the Cultural Quarter and railway station, and at Abbey Meadows and Pioneer Park – home to the landmark National Space Centre, the award-winning Dock and Abbey Pumping Station.

The outcome of the studies will help determine whether the council will make a bid for capital funding from the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit to expand its existing district heating network.

Cllr Adam Clarke, assistant city mayor for energy and sustainability, said: “Leicester’s district heating scheme is already helping cut carbon emissions across the city, and we want to build on that.

“This new funding will allow us to explore the opportunities to extend the benefits of combined heat and power into key regeneration areas over the coming years.

“Extending our own green heat network is a key part of our ambition to make Leicester a low carbon city.”

The Leicester District Energy Scheme already comprises a 7km city centre network, with three smaller networks covering an additional 7km in outlying areas. It provides energy-efficient heat to 2,800 homes, along with council offices, schools, De Montfort Hall and the University of Leicester. It was the largest of its kind in the UK to be installed in one phase.

Through its use of combined heat and power plants, the scheme has helped reduce citywide carbon emissions by over 7,000 tonnes per annum.

Nationally, district heating networks are expected to provide 50 gigawatts of heat energy – equivalent to about 40 per cent of the UK’s heating needs – by 2050.

Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “It is very encouraging to see the plans Leicester City Council has to harness the power of low carbon technology to bring bills down for local residents.

"Heat networks can bring warmer, greener heating to our towns and cities. That is why the government is supporting local councils to help them use their local infrastructure to give bill payers more for their money.”