Leeds cuts ribbon on ‘revolutionary’ £35m heat network

One of the UK's largest heat networks has been officially launched by Leeds City Council, in a development which will deliver low-carbon heat and water to thousands of homes and businesses.

The £35m Leeds PIPES network, developed in partnership with energy company Vital Energi, is projected to slash the city’s CO2 emissions by 22,00 tonnes.

It will connect to the Veolia-operated Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF), converting steam into hot water, and distributing it to properties along a 16.5k network of district heating pipes.

Leeds City Council deputy leader Cllr Lucinda Yeadon said the network marks a “significant” step in the city’s bid to become a low-carbon hub.

“The Leeds PIPES Network will revolutionise the way that heat and hot water is delivered around Leeds, taking advantage of Leeds City Council’s previous investment in the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility,” she said.

“In the coming years I look forward to seeing the Leeds PIPES Network grow, making a real difference for the people and environment of Leeds.”

Community asset

Heat is scheduled to be available for spring 2019, with all homes connected by autumn 2020.

New internal heating systems as well as a smart metering solution will be provided for 23 apartment blocks to give residents greater control over their energy consumption. Tenants are expected save on energy bills by between 10% and 25% a year through the heat network connection.

“This project is a great example of how a heat network of this scale can be created for a major city, to recycle energy from the City’s waste recycling and energy recovery facility, and use it to bring a range of benefits to the community,” Vital Energi’s strategy director Nick Gosling said.

Leeds is making positive steps in its bid to become a low-carbon, resource-efficient city. Veolia’s 11MW energy-from-waste facility, launched in 2016, manages up to 214,000 tonnes of waste each year. The plant generates enough electricity to power 22,000 homes via the National Grid.

Plans to convert the gas grid in Leeds to run entirely on hydrogen moved a step closer to becoming reality last year after Northern Gas Networks opened an office in the city dedicated to the endeavour.

George Ogleby

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