Waste to energy plant to come to Cardiff

A new £26.5m district-heating network to supply businesses and homes in Cardiff, has secured £15m to begin the first phase of works.

Cardiff City Heating Network will use heat generated at Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) at Trident Park, which diverts approximately 350,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill every year. The plant generates enough electricity to power around 68,448 households. The network could be operational within two years of installation works beginning.

Buildings that connect to the network will no longer need to use gas to heat their property, reducing energy bills and the city's carbon emissions.

The new project – the first of its kind in Wales – has received support via a £8.6m loan from the Welsh Government and a £6m grant from the UK Government.

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets and the Environment, Cllr Michael Michael said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Cardiff to develop a new, low-carbon, energy infrastructure, fuelled by an existing facility in the city. The Heat Network is one the council’s key projects in our response to Climate Change, so this is really exciting news.

“Analysis shows that if all the heat available from the plant is fully utilised, we could save 5,600 tonnes of carbon each year and the customers signed up to the network could cut their annual energy bills by 5 per cent on average, while reducing their heating system’s carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent.”

Other smaller buildings, or parts of buildings will also be connected to the network, including parts of the Butetown Hub, the main entrance of Butetown Community Centre and Cardiff & Vale College’s Construction Centre.

Discussions are also underway with private developers looking to develop land within scope of the first phase of the heat network.

After the first phase of works, the network may be extended to other customers, helping the area to become more environmentally sustainable.

The heat produced by heating the non-recyclable waste at the Viridor plant at very high temperatures produces steam, which in turn powers a turbine to make electricity. By turning the facility into combined heat and power mode, some of the steam is recovered as hot water which can then be distributed via a network of highly insulated pipes to customers’ buildings.

Viridor CEO Phil Piddington, said: “Cardiff residents will also have the opportunity to see waste the way Viridor sees it, as a resource and not rubbish, and we hope this encourages other cities served by energy recovery facilities to follow this innovative example.”

Key buildings which could benefit from the Heat Network in the proposed second phase have been approached by the council, but commercial terms have yet to be agreed. This phase would also be subject to a separate tender process and further financial funding.

Potential buildings which could link to the network in the second phase of the development include: The Central Square Development, Cardiff Central Library, St David’s 2 Centre, Atrium Bock A & B, Ty Llewelyn, Cardiff Prison, Cardiff Magistrates’ Court, Cardiff University’s McKenzie House and Queen’s Buildings, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Cardiff Sixth Form College, and Trevellech (Central) Library.

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