Shropshire could become the first location in the West Midlands to have a district heating system supplying energy to businesses and public buildings in Shrewsbury.
As part of its drive to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2030, Shropshire Council is exploring whether it can set up a district heating system for premises on the northern edge of Shrewsbury.
Heat networks supply heat from a central source to consumers, via a network of underground pipes carrying hot water. This avoids the need for individual boilers or electric heaters in every building.
The Shropshire system would use heat generated from council-contracted waste operator Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) at Battlefield to heat water, that would then be pumped through a network of pipes to provide heating for sites such as care homes, Shrewsbury Sports Village and other public buildings.
The Battlefield ERF already converts residual waste unsuitable for recycling and composting into heat and power, generating enough electricity to meet one third of Shrewsbury’s demand, and has significantly reduced the amount of waste the county sends to landfill.
Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said:
“The ERF is already making a huge difference towards reducing our carbon output, but there is still heat going to waste that could be captured and used to create the heating network.
“Shropshire Council has set the target of achieving net zero carbon by 2030, and creating a heating network such as this would take us another step forward along that journey. We are looking forward to the completion of the feasibility study and pursuing the options that would reduce emissions and improve efficiencies.”
The latest figures reveal that around 17,000 heat networks supply nearly 500,000 consumers in the UK, up from an estimate of around 2,000 networks and 211,000 users in 2013. In addition, 81 heat network projects are in the pipeline under the Government’s Heat Network Development Unit.