New district heating projects announced for Wales

Cardiff and Bridgend in Wales will house new heat network (district heating) projects, which will help to heat homes using excess heat produced at industrial sites.

The Welsh Government provided an £8.6 million (€9.5 million) interest-free loan to Cardiff Council for the Cardiff Heat Network – the first large-scale city heat network of its kind in the country. The loan will provide more than half of the funds needed for the council to develop phase one of the network, which will use underground pipes to transport waste heat from the Viridor Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) to buildings in and around the Cardiff Bay area.

Extracting heat from the ERF, which diverts tonnes of residual waste away from landfill every day, will reduce local reliance on higher carbon forms of heat, and save thousands of tonnes of carbon annually.

The Welsh Government has worked closely with Cardiff City Council since 2017 to support the development of the project. Phase one is expected to be operational in 2022.

The first phase of the work is also supported with a £6.6 million (€7.2 million) construction grant from the UK Government via the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). On 13 August, the BEIS confirmed funding for the Bridgend Heat Network, which has also been supported by the Welsh Government’s Energy Service and the Energy Systems Catapult, helping to develop Bridgend Councils’ smart systems and heat strategy.

“I am very pleased to be able to announce confirmation of the funding to the first phase of the Cardiff City Heat Network,” said Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy, and Rural Affairs.

“As we continue on our path to cutting carbon emissions across Wales, one of the key problems we have faced is decarbonising heat, which we can tackle by making our buildings more energy efficient, and also by changing the source of heat. As such, using waste heat in town and city centres is of great importance.

“Heat networks such as these will help home and business owners to cut their energy bills, but it will also help us to meet our goal of cutting Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions.”

Councillor Michael Michael, Cardiff City Council’s Cabinet Member for Clean Streets and the Environment, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Cardiff to develop new low-carbon energy infrastructure, fuelled by an existing facility in the city.

“Analysis shows that if all the heat available from the plant is fully utilised, we could save 5,600 tonnes of carbon each year and the customers signed up to the network could save on average 5% on their current energy costs.

“The business case shows that the first phase of the network is financially viable and I would like to thank both the Welsh Government and Central Government for their financial assistance with this project.”

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