16 November 2020 by James Langley

FCC to supply heat to council-run energy firm

Swedish energy firm Vattenfall has launched an Energy Services Company (ESCo) with Midlothian council, which will run a string of “low carbon energy projects” across the local authority’s territory.

Its first project will be a low carbon district heating network supplying Shawfair, a new town being built on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Heat will be supplied from FCC Environment’s 155,000 tonnes per year capacity energy from waste (EfW) plant near Millerhill.

The Millerhill EfW plant, which was opened in 2019, will supply heat to the district heating network

The EfW plant is fuelled by residual waste collected by Midlothian, Edinburgh and East Lothian councils.

Midlothian council’s cabinet member for economic development Russell Imrie said: “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.

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

This first project will involve an initial capital investment of around £20 million, Vattenfall says, and will benefit from up to £7.3 million from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Programme. This is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Contract

Midlothian council is to sign a 40-year agreement with the ESCo to supply heat to the new public buildings to be built at the new Shawfair town. The district heating network is expected to save more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, Vattenfall says.

An artist’s impression of the town centre in Shawfair, which is currently under construction

Vattenfall says the new company will negotiate final contracts with its main initial partners, FCC Environment and Shawfair LLP. FCC will supply the low carbon heat and Shawfair LLP will facilitate the connections to new domestic and commercial developments in the town.

Eoghan Maguire, director for Scotland and North UK at Vattenfall Heat UK, said: “This exciting joint venture with Midlothian Council is a platform for further growth in low-carbon energy in Scotland and the UK.

“The innovative Shawfair development will bring low carbon heat network technology to Scotland, building on Vattenfall’s experience in constructing and operating some of Europe’s fastest growing heat networks.”

Swedish state

The announcement today comes after a string of similar deals which Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned energy company, has struck with EfW operators in the UK.

Midlothian council first announced its district heating network would benefit from heat supplied by FCC Environment in February, and it named Vattenfall its preferred energy partner at the time (see letsrecycle.com story).

In May, Cory Riverside Energy announced it would go into partnership with Vattenfall to develop “one of the largest heat networks in the UK” (see letsrecycle.com story).

And just last week Viridor said it had entered into a partnership with Vattenfall to capture heat from its portfolio of energy from waste (EfW) plants in the UK (see letsrecycle.com story).

Vattenfall is the largest operator of district heating networks in western Europe and provides heat network services to 1.7 million households across the EU.

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