Forward-thinking plans for a 'green' district heating system for Exeter have been announced.
The Exeter and East Devon Low Carbon Task Force is working closely with Exeter City Council and Devon County Council to deliver the scheme, which would help reduce carbon emissions and result in more energy efficient heat and power for the city.
Plans are still being worked up but a number of significant heat users in the city could be served by a heat network. These could include:
* The bus and coach station redevelopment
* The four sites for new student accommodation in the city centre
* Waitrose - which has already provided a section 106 contribution to enable a district heating connection
* The Civic Centre
* St Luke's Campus (University of Exeter)
* Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
* County Hall
* Matford Business Park
* The south west Exeter urban extension
The City Centre network could also benefit from the waste heat generated from the Energy from Waste (EfW) plant currently being built at Marsh Barton. If the EfW plant exports heat to a heat network, the overall efficency of the plant would increase from 20% to 60%.
A heat network is already operating as part of the Cranbrook scheme. Eventually there will be a 75km network of pipework carrying heat from a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant at Skypark and serving all of the houses in the new community as well as Skypark.
Exeter City Council is keen to deliver CHP and district heating across its large scale developments and progress is being made at Monkerton, where the Low Carbon Task Force and Growth Point team have worked closely with EoN to bring forward proposals for the area. Devon County Council has agreed that part of the site can be used to build a CHP plant and in the long term the plant could link to developments the other side of the M5 to provide a more economic and efficient energy solution.
A study of the City Centre/Marsh Barton heat network is due to be completed later this month and will be reported to the City Council in the Spring. The report will look at the setting up of a Energy Service Company to drive the initiative forward in conjunction with the public sector.
Cllr Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for Sustainable Development and Transport, said: "A district heating system is the way forward for Exeter. Not only does it tick all the right boxes for the environment, it also delivers economic benefits for the city and further afield."
John Rigby, Chair of the The Low Carbon Task Force, said they wanted to build upon the successes they had achieved so far. "We want to ensure that Exeter and East Devon are at the forefront of this growth in the low carbon sector. A recent CBI report, ‘The Colour of Growth’, stated that ‘moving to a low carbon economy can drive significant business investment and create many new jobs across the country."