Leeds council to vote on new district heating network

The city of Leeds in northern England is set for a major new district heating scheme, if a vote in the county council is approved on Monday.

The scheme, which will do much to tackle energy poverty and reduction of emissions in the city, is proposed to use heat created by the operation of the council’s Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) in east Leeds being used to provide hot water for heating in households and businesses through a network of underground pipes.
Leeds, England
If approved and once all the funding is in place, the plan would see the council entering into a contract with Vital Energi Utilities Ltd to design, build and operate the network, which could be completed by April 2019.

When it is processing waste the RERF, which began operating in April last year, is capable of generating power equivalent to more than 22,000 homes. When it was constructed it was designed to be district heating enabled.

The initial phase of the project would see a pipeline created to take hot water from the RERF in Cross Green to properties in and around the city centre and Lincoln Green, including for use in council-managed multi-storey flats. Supporting infrastructure would also be built including an energy centre opposite the RERF and back-up equipment at Saxton Gardens to ensure continuity of supply. Should the planned network prove successful, there is scope for it to be expanded to other areas of the city.

Leeds City Council executive member for environment and sustainability Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said: “The district heating network is a fantastic project, helping us to make a real difference to people’s lives by tackling fuel poverty, improving air quality and delivering affordable and efficient heating while at the same time also creating jobs and learning opportunities.

“It also further underlines the value of the RERF to Leeds with this clever use of the energy it produces to warm homes and buildings, so we look forward to following the progress of this very exciting project as it develops.”

Funding for the project would come from Leeds City Council and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) managed through the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). A bid for further funding support is also set to be put to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority later this year.

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