Warm reception for Bridgend heat network scheme
Plans for a heat network scheme to eventually connect homes and public buildings across Bridgend have been warmly received by Cabinet Members from Bridgend County Borough Council.
The council started investigating opportunities for a heat network in Bridgend town centre six years ago to reduce carbon emissions and cut energy bills for local residents.
Now, it has put forward a proposal that will connect public buildings near the Bridgend Life Centre so that excess heat generated by the boiler there can be transported through underground pipes to warm the Civic Offices, the Bowls Hall and the development being planned for the Sunnyside site.
The plan is for the scheme to be fully operational in October 2020, with further phases in the pipeline to expand the heat network from those initial core buildings so that it joins up with dense residential areas such as Brackla as well as dozens of schools and other public buildings.
It will cost around £2m to build the first phase of the scheme, with the council working with partners within UK and Welsh Government to secure the finance package for the project.
A company will need to be formed to run the heat network and it’s proposed that a Special Purpose Vehicle could be created by the local authority to do this. Cabinet Members will be asked to consider the matter in October 2018.
A heat network scheme will form the cornerstone of our plans to decarbonise Bridgend. Most individual buildings within Bridgend town centre are heated with boilers that are fired by fossil fuels. This carbon intensive approach cannot continue if we are to contribute to the Welsh Government’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. Heat networks are the way forward. This long-term project will have significant environmental, social and economic benefits for the area. There will be savings on energy bills for buildings connected to the network that will increase annually as grid-based energy prices rise. Investment in this scheme will also create jobs and training opportunities, address fuel poverty and health inequalities among residents, and also provide supply chain opportunities for local businesses.Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities
Cabinet Members have approved the project’s outline business case which explains how the initial set-up costs of £2m will be met.
Councillor Young added: “We are pleased to support this innovative scheme while recognising that the first phase relies on a successful bid for a £665k grant through the UK Government HNIP Grant Programme, which we will be submitting later this year. A full business case will then also need to be approved, but the opportunities for energy savings and cutting carbon emissions are extremely exciting.”