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Ice and Fire: Sheffield Organisations Commit to Connect to New Lower Carbon Heating Network

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E.ON today announced that three leading Sheffield organisations have agreed to connect to its new £20 million low carbon district heating network to be built in the Lower Don valley.

Powered by the heat from E.ON’s soon-to-be-completed Blackburn Meadows renewable energy plant, the additional investment will see an 8km district heating pipe network supplying low carbon heat to South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Forgemasters’ quarter mile long South Machine Shop as well as world class sports and leisure facilities operated by Sheffield International Venues.

More major customers are due to announce soon and hundreds, if not thousands, of residential customers could follow, for newly built homes along the pipe route.

The energy plant, currently nearing completion in the north-west of the city on the site of the former Tinsley Power Station and cooling towers, will produce 29MW of electricity – enough power for around 40,000 homes. By capturing a further 25MW of heat energy which would otherwise be lost in traditional energy generation, this green energy plant is more efficient and effective.

Already agreed to connect are Sheffield Forgemasters, iceSheffield, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield and the Motorpoint Arena (all part of Sheffield International Venues) as well as Attercliffe Police Station. It is expected the five buildings will see an average carbon saving of 70%1 compared to other sources of heating such as gas boilers, saving an estimated 1,820 tonnes of Co2 per year.

Don Leiper, Director of New Business at E.ON, said: “Building on the construction of our renewable energy plant at Blackburn Meadows, this is a substantial investment in Sheffield’s energy future and I’m delighted we’ve already been able to secure customers to our network, organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprints and benefit from a secure and locally-produced heat energy supply.

“Blackburn Meadows is already designed to be an efficient and sustainable power generation source, fuelled by waste wood and providing carbon savings the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road each year. By capturing the heat and providing it for use by nearby businesses we are effectively almost doubling the efficiency of the plant and the environmental benefits to customers.”

Councillor Jack Scott, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene, said: “We are determined to build on Sheffield’s reputation as one of the greenest cities, so this development is excellent news for our great city. It will enable the Lower Don Valley to access environmentally friendly energy and help to improve Sheffield’s unique District Energy System and ensure it works effectively all across the city.

“I’m delighted with this project, which will show to everyone that Sheffield is one of the leading cities in the country in bringing ‘green’ energy into local businesses, sporting facilities and homes.”

Victoria Hinchcliffe, Group Environment Director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “As an energy intensive user, Forgemasters is very pleased to be part of the Lower Don Valley heat network. We are always seeking new ways to reduce our carbon emissions and improve our environmental performance. We look forward to supporting this local project as well as exploring how we may potentially capture some of our own waste heat to feed back in to the network in the future.”

Sheffield International Venues Deputy Chief Executive, Andrew Snelling, said: “We are delighted that our three world class venues in the lower Don Valley will be connecting to the E.ON biomass district heating system. The Motorpoint Arena, iceSheffield and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield will all benefit from this exciting new development which plays a major part in our strategy to reduce our carbon footprint. It helps fulfil our objective of utilising renewable energy sources wherever we can across our portfolio. We congratulate E.ON and look forward to a successful and mutually beneficial long term partnership.”

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright welcomed the new facility in Sheffield. He said: “In these current times of austerity, it is important that we all work together to save money and improve efficiencies. I am very keen to take advantage of this unique opportunity, allowing South Yorkshire Police to benefit from a local and low carbon heat source whilst reducing carbon emissions and the Force’s energy bills.”

Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber, added: “Energy costs and availability are a massive issue for business. I cannot stress enough how important the E.ON investment and its extension into a district heating scheme is to the future. I know the plans include connecting this to the existing scheme in the centre of Sheffield and will position us very much at the forefront in energy efficiency. We applaud the move.”

The heat energy will be transported to customers along a network of super-insulated pipes running from the plant into the Lower Don Valley. Much of the pipeline will be underground or on private land keeping disruption to a minimum during the construction phase.

Blackburn Meadows will use UK sourced recycled waste wood to power the plant and, as far as is possible, has used local companies throughout the construction. It is expected the site will create up to 30 full-time jobs within the local area once operational.

At Blackburn Meadows, E.ON will put in place a community benefits fund worth up to £25,000 a year to support local projects throughout the lifetime of the plant, enhance the appearance and biodiversity of the area through landscaping and construct an onsite visitor centre, which will show how energy is produced as well as highlighting the industrial heritage of the site.

E.ON has formed energy collaboration projects with local authorities throughout the UK, including Sheffield to explore renewable energy technologies and improve energy efficiency. In February 2011, Sheffield City Council and E.ON launched a project to help the city’s long term plans to produce enough renewable energy to become self-sufficient.

1 Based on E.ON estimates around carbon content of heat from the Blackburn Meadows Renewable Energy Plant allowing for electrical energy needed to pump the hot water around the system. The four buildings (Forgemasters, iceSheffield, English Institute of Sport Sheffield and the Motorpoint Arena) are estimated to save approx. 1,700 tonnes of Co2 per year when combined in displaced gas consumption.

SOURCE: E.ON