Didcot power plant in Oxfordshire is set to be the site of a new district heat network.

Business and residential communities in the vicinity are set to benefit from the proposed project, with a water-source heat pump at the plant producing 16,500 megawatt hours of electricity each year – equivalent to powering 1,375 homes.
Didcot power plant
The Oxford Times reports that South Oxfordshire District Council has already completed two early stages of feasibility studies and is now asking Government for extra funding.

Council leader John Cotton said: “We are hugely excited by this project. We’ve asked the government for some funding to investigate it further and, if we get that, we will carry out the detailed design and viability work to see if a north Didcot combined heat and power scheme can become reality.”

Specifically, this scheme would use excess heat from gas-fire Didcot B to heat up water.

That hot water could then be used to heat buildings and generate electricity for the new business park being planned for the old coal-fired Didcot A site.

The authority is working closely with power station operator RWE, land owners, businesses and developers as well as neighbouring Vale of White Horse District Council.

Vale leader Matt Barber said: “Working with RWE and other partners, the initial signs are very positive for building a new energy centre and heat network. Using excess heat from power stations has been successful throughout Europe and our Science Vale region has the potential to be one of the first to install this technology in the UK.”

Didcot B station manager Neil Scott added: “RWE welcomes the opportunity to investigate innovative ways of providing energy for our homes and businesses of the future. We look forward to continuing work with both district councils and supporting the Didcot area in its ongoing garden town plans.”

The district councils said they ‘hoped to receive government funding this year’ to complete financial and technical tests and to create possible designs for various combined heat and power networks.