Proposal to build £40 Million Birkenhead Heat Network • New Thames Water plans to heat homes with renewable energy • Investors acquire UK District Heating and Cooling portfolio • Read more about the developments in sustainable heating and cooling in this month's news update from the UK
In a move towards sustainable buildings and urban regeneration, Wirral Council is set to accelerate the £40 million plans for the Birkenhead Heat Network. The proposal, a central element of the local authority’s regeneration initiatives, aims to reform the heating of new homes in Birkenhead through renewable energy sources.
The council has received £230,000 to conduct a feasibility study and build a commercial business case. The proposed heat network benefits from waste heat generated by the Birkenhead Wastewater Treatment Works and water source heat pumps from the Birkenhead docks. The proposed network has the potential to generate 49.6 GWh of heat annually, saving over 250.000 tonnes of Co2 emissions throughout its operational life.
The current scope of the project covers developments across Birkenhead, including the area around Cleveland Street, south of Birkenhead Park, and the Hind Street Urban Village. The Hind Street Urban Village is an ambitious regeneration project with the aim to transform industrial land near Birkenhead Central into 1,600 new homes. The network could be expanded to include Seacombe and Wallasey in the future.
The estimated project cost exceeds £40 million, with an expected return of around 13%, why the council foresees the project as appealing to private investors due to the anticipated returns.
The proposed Birkenhead Heat Network aligns with the UK government’s commitment to banning fossil fuel heating in new homes from 2025. It also corresponds to the broader national goal of deriving approximately 18% of UK heat from heat networks by 2050 to meet carbon targets cost-effectively.
Thames Water, one of the UK’s major utilities firms, is set to embark on an ambitious project to harness the power of sewage sludge for heating homes in West London. The initiative, based on the success of its second gas-to-grid (G2G) project at the Mogden Sewage Treatment Works (STW), marks a significant step toward sustainable and eco-friendly energy solutions.
Building on the blueprint established at Deephams STW in North London in 2021, where biogas was converted into biomethane to heat homes in Enfield, Thames Water is now replicating this success at Mogden, the third largest STW in the UK. With a capacity to serve over 2 million customers, Mogden STW has the potential to supply gas to approximately 4,000 homes in West London.
The key to this innovative approach lies in the sewage treatment process, where sewage sludge is digested to produce biogas. Subsequently, Mogden STW employs Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines to generate electricity from this biogas. The Gas-to-Grid plant, managed by gas supplier SGN, will take a portion of this biogas and upgrade it to export quality. This involves filtering, scrubbing, and compressing the gas, making it suitable for use as fuel for cooking and heating.
In a new £255 million deal, Swiss Life Asset Managers and Schroders Greencoat have successfully acquired a portfolio of district heating and cooling networks in the UK from Equans. The acquisition, completed following an agreement in September 2023, includes the Equans Urban Energy portfolio, encompassing 12 district heating and cooling networks that cater to residential, commercial, public, and retail customers.
The Equans Urban Energy portfolio, composed of East London Energy Limited and Equans DE Holding Company Limited, has combined value of approximately £255 million. Notably, the deal excludes Humber Energy from the scope, pending the completion of its sale in 2024.
The acquired portfolio has a substantial capacity, featuring 432MW of heating, 117MW of cooling, and 67MW of electricity. This strategic move aligns with Equans’ disclosed strategic plan, which emphasizes the divestment of asset-based activities.
The completion of the acquisition signals a significant step forward for the sector and sets the stage for private investors to contribute to the ongoing transition to a more sustainable and eco-friendly energy future.
Sweden is at the forefront of decentralised heat networks technology. Our aim for “Sustainable Heating & Cooling by Sweden” is to facilitate knowledge sharing between British, French and Swedish stakeholders and develop and encourage environmental and economic best practice.
To find out how we can help you and your organisation, please contact our London or Paris-based “SHC” teams. We can introduce you to leading consultants, suppliers of technology and services who will be pleased to share know-how of the development of sustainable heating & cooling solutions.