A waste-to-energy plant in the Welsh city of Cardiff could soon heat public and commercial buildings through a proposed district heating network.

The 30 MWe Trident Park energy recovery facility (pictured), operated by waste management firm Viridor, could contribute 85 per cent of the heat required if the city council approves a £26.5m ($38m) district heating scheme.

The plant burns 350,000 tonnes per year of non-recyclable waste from nine local authorities in southeast Wales, and was designed to produce heat as well as power. It currently supplies power to the national grid.

Included in the plan is a provision for a backup heating plant that would operate during Trident Park’s maintenance outages.

Cardiff Council’s cabinet is set to review the plans at its next meeting. Councillor Michael Michael, cabinet member for clean streets and the environment, called the proposed project “an exciting opportunity for Cardiff to develop new low-carbon energy infrastructure, fuelled by existing assets and facilities in the city.

“Analysis that has been carried out shows the scheme has the opportunity to save 5600 tonnes of carbon each year, with an assumption of a 5 per cent saving on energy costs for the buildings that connect to the network.”

But he warned that such schemes “are reliant on a number of factors to make them viable”.

“Firstly, external funding is required and we are working with both Central and Welsh government to help us put the correct funding in place. Secondly, long-term contracts have to be secured to use the heat from the network and this will be essential for the scheme to progress,” he said.