Cardiff council is proposing a scheme to heat public and commercial buildings across Cardiff using energy generated from Viridor’s Trident Park energy recovery facility (ERF).
The cabinet is not set to review the proposals to develop the district-heating network in parts of Cardiff Bay and the city centre, which could cost up to £26.5m.
According to the authority, buildings that connect to the network would no longer need to use gas to heat their property so reducing energy bills and the city’s carbon emissions.
Trident Park ERF currently has contracts to burn non-recyclable waste from nine local authorities in South East Wales, including Cardiff.
An Outline Business Case has been developed to evaluate the project, based on a detailed study funded by both Central and Welsh Government, the council said.
Commenting on the scheme, Cabinet member for clean streets and the environment, Cllr Michael said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Cardiff to develop new low-carbon, energy infrastructure, fuelled by existing assets and facilities in the city. Analysis that has been carried out shows the scheme has the opportunity to save 5,600 tonnes of carbon each year, with an assumption of a 5% saving on energy costs for the buildings that connect to the network. “
However, Cllr Michael said these schemes are reliant on a number of factors to make them viable, including funding, and securing long-term contracts.
Cllr Michael continued: “The Welsh Government has set out their aim for all the public sector to be carbon neutral by 2030. This aim is supported by Cardiff Council’s recent Capital Ambition policy document – which states that a sustainable, heat network proposal will be drawn up by the administration.”
Welsh Government Cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths, added: “Decarbonising heat is a significant challenge in delivering a low carbon economy for Wales. We are supporting a range of initiatives and have provided significant assistance to Cardiff Council to develop the project to this stage. We will continue to work in partnership with Cardiff Council with the ambition of making the project a reality”.
The Council’s Cabinet will be asked to allocate £4m towards the scheme, subject to the remaining money being secured via Central Government, Welsh Government and the private sector as appropriate.
An Outline Business Case has been developed to evaluate the project and Cabinet will be asked to give their support, in principle, for the scheme and to progress to the next stages of the proposal. This will include applying for grant and other funding, securing contracts with heat customers and suppliers and beginning the process to tender for a company to design, build, operate and maintain the heat network.
It is likely that the heat network would be owned by an independent company through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with the Council as a major shareholder, the authority said.
“Viridor’s view is that all waste should be given a purpose and valued as a resource, rather than rubbish.”
Viridor’s managing director of major contracts, Chris Jonas, said the company was pleased to work with Cardiff council to maximise renewable energy and heat opportunities and achieve the Welsh Government’s environmental ambitions.
“Viridor’s view is that all waste should be given a purpose and valued as a resource, rather than rubbish. It should be put to work for Welsh businesses and communities. For Welsh residents and the business sector to see this concept being put into practice in Cardiff is a goal which is well worth pursuing.”
Trident Park Energy Recovery Facility currently burns non-recyclable waste for two council partnerships: Prosiect Gwyrdd involving Caerphilly, Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire and Vale of GlamorgancCouncils and the Tomorrow’s Valley Partnership involving Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen Councils. Operated and owned by Viridor, the plant currently produces 30MW of electricity, enough energy to power 50,000 homes.
When the facility was built it was designed so that it could produce both heat and power. When heat is used in addition to the electricity generation process – it can significantly increase the efficiency of the plant, the council said.
According to the council, Viridor’s plant could contribute 85% of the heat required for the heating network.