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Vattenfall, Midlothian Council form low-carbon energy JV

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Swedish state-owned energy firm Vattenfall and Midlothian Council in Scotland have formed a joint venture to deliver low-carbon energy projects across the area.

The first project under the new energy services company (ESCo), a 50/50 joint venture, will be a low-carbon district heating network supplying Shawfair, a new town which will be built in the north of the council area on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Zero Waste contractor FCC Environment, which operates the councils’ (Edinburgh and Midlothian) energy-from-waste (EfW) facility near Millerhill, will supply low-carbon heat to the Vattenfall district heat network. The EfW is fuelled by residual waste collected by local councils.

The district heating network is expected to save more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 1,200 cars off the road. This first project will involve an initial capital investment of circa £20 million (€22.4 million) and benefit from up to £7.3 million (€8.1 million) from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project (LCITP), which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

“Today is a milestone in our commitment to delivering green energy projects to benefit local communities and businesses while helping us achieve our council ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030,” said Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for economic development, Councillor Russell Imrie.

“We’re looking forward to working with Vattenfall, including on our first project with Shawfair LLP and FCC Environment.”

Eoghan Maguire, director for Scotland and North UK at Vattenfall Heat UK, said: “Vattenfall’s aim is to enable a life free from fossil fuels within one generation, something we cannot do alone.

“To make this happen, we are working with organisations like Midlothian Council to decarbonise the heat sector, the single biggest contributor to UK carbon emissions.”

Midlothian Council will also sign a 40-year agreement with the ESCo to supply heat to the new public buildings to be constructed at the new Shawfair town.

“Our vision for Shawfair is centred on landscape, community, and sustainability,” said Nick Waugh, a director of Shawfair LLP. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to a zero-carbon future and will support the entire fabric of this emerging community.

“We very much look forward to working with ESCo to deliver this innovative district heating network.”