SSE and housing project developer A2Dominion officially opened a new combined heat and power (CHP) energy centre in the UK this week, with energy minister Andrea Leadsom in attendance at the ceremony.

The plant will provide heating and hot water for the first phase of A2Dominion’s Elmsbrook Northwest Bicester Eco-Town housing development through a district heating system.

According to A2Dominion, the development is the UK’s first planned eco-town. Its first phase is expected to include 393 zero-carbon homes, and 6000 homes are planned in total. So far 91 residents have moved in.

SSE is to operate and maintain the plant, which will supply around 1200 households.

Leadsom commented: ‘The CHP plant is an excellent example of a low carbon, sustainable source of energy for the eco town. A2Dominion and SSE have worked hard to design an energy solution for residents that fits with the overall sustainability of the development.’

And Darrell Mercer, A2Dominion’s CEO, said: ‘Elmsbrook demonstrates that we can achieve truly sustainable standards in design and the lifestyle for residents, without compromising on comfort or quality. A district heating solution is a pioneering way to heat modern homes efficiently, and we hope that this and the other environmental features on this scheme will inform future development projects.’