First pipes installed at Shawfair low-carbon heating project

First pipes installed at Shawfair low-carbon heating project

The first pipes to supply the new Shawfair town in Midlothian with low-carbon heating have been installed with construction on the site now well underway.

Vattenfall Heat UK (part of Swedish energy company Vattenfall AB) and Midlothian Council are working together under a Joint Venture known as Midlothian Energy Limited and have employed Scottish company, FES Group to deliver the low-carbon heating, which will provide around 3,000 homes, education and retail properties at Shawfair Town, a development overseen by Shawfair LLP, in the north of the Midlothian Council area. This will be Vattenfall’s first ever heat project in Scotland and Midlothian Energy Limited’s flagship project.

Heat that would otherwise be wasted will be captured by Midlothian Energy from Millerhill recycling and energy recovery centre (RERC), operated by FCC Environment, and then transported via a network of underground pipes to provide a low-carbon source of heating and hot water for properties at Shawfair. Vattenfall’s modelling suggests the heat networks in Midlothian could reduce emissions by up to 90% in comparison to individual gas boilers fitted in every home.

Heat is expected to be delivered to homes by March 2024. The pipes for the initial phase of the network will be around four kilometres in length and the project is expected to save over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off the road. The project will benefit from up to £7.3m² from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project (LCITP).

This initial supply of heat will be the catalyst for a wider regional network stretching into south Edinburgh and East Lothian. The Shawfair development is a key feature of Midlothian Energy Limited’s five-year business plan to supply low-carbon heat to over 30,000 households and progress a variety of other energy projects.

First pipes installed at Shawfair low-carbon heating project

Eoghan Maguire, director for Scotland at Vattenfall Heat UK, said: “Scotland’s ambitious net zero target of 2045 cannot be met unless district heating is deployed at scale. The collaboration between organisations working to deliver this project means that the vision for this brand-new town can become exemplary for district heating in Scotland and beyond.

“This project is such an important first step in our vision for the region. Vattenfall has developed a strategy to deliver city-wide district heating that is capable of supplying heat to the equivalent of 170,000 homes in Midlothian, Edinburgh and East Lothian by 2050, matching the scale of our heat networks in Europe.”

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for Environment, Councillor Dianne Alexander, said: “The council is delighted to see the first of many projects for Midlothian Energy reach the construction phase. Our innovative approach to working with a highly experienced partner will help Midlothian deliver on its ambitious net zero plans and contribute to reducing fuel poverty.”

Zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie said: “With thousands of people in Shawfair set to receive environmentally friendly heating, this project is a great example of the role heat networks will play in helping meet our decarbonisation targets. We are proud to have supported this project with £7.3 million from our Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and I look forward to seeing it grow in scale, supplying heating to even more buildings as the network expands.”

Craig Ormond, director at Shawfair LLP, said: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone in the development of Shawfair with installation of the first District Heating pipes underway. This will set Shawfair apart with a truly sustainable heat source for thousands of new homes helping to make this a popular new living destination with its own rail link and hundreds of acres of landscaped open space to enjoy.

“Our highly experienced design team have been working closely with Vattenfall and Midlothian Council for several months and are excited to see the progress being made on site. Our project manager (Thomas & Adamson) and contractor (RJ McLeod) have ensured we are progressing on schedule towards the first house connections.”

First pipes installed at Shawfair low-carbon heating project

James Reid, FES energy operations director at FES Group, said: “The first pipes being installed at the Shawfair Development is a great milestone achieved for the Vattenfall team following years of project development to get to this point.

“FES are delighted to be Principal Contractor supporting Vattenfall and Midlothian Council in their ambitious energy strategy for the Midlothian area and look forward to further milestones being achieved at the development over the coming year.”

Paul Taylor, group chief executive for FCC Environment, said: “Since 2019 the Millerhill recycling and energy recovery centre (RERC) has been converting non-recyclable household and business waste into heat and power. The plant was developed by us alongside The City of Edinburgh Council and Midlothian Council to help them divert 155,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year and the facility is a key component in the council’s combined commitment to helping to reach the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste target.

“With net zero ever on the agenda and a pressing need to invest in UK-based renewable power sources as we seek to move to a lower carbon future economy, utilising the heat from this plant is vital. So today’s news that real progress is being made towards delivering low-cost, low-carbon heating to 170,000 homes in the Midlothian and Edinburgh region is welcome and we are proud to be a part of this major step forward.”

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