Local Energy for Local Business

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) along with its partner local authorities have moved a step closer to realising their ambition of supplying low cost heat to businesses and residents across the region.

With funding from Government, feasibility work will be undertaken on six potential district heat network opportunities, which if implemented could deliver heat to over 1,200 businesses and realise an annual income of over £36 million. These projects are located in Barnsley, Bradford, Huddersfield, Knottingley, Leeds and York.

The District Heat Programme, led by the LEP and operational across all districts in the region, has prioritised the six schemes according to the potential benefit they could bring to the economy of the City Region whilst also supporting the LEP’s strategic ambition to ‘Create a Resource Smart City Region’.

In its simplest form, a district heat network is an incredibly efficient way of supplying heat to buildings and does so through a network of insulated pipes which connect a heat supplier e.g. an energy from waste plant, with an end user such as a business or household. Businesses that take advantage of connecting to a network can reap the benefits of lower heating costs, and where they act as a heat supplier, a potential income stream can be derived.

Paul Hamer, Chair of the LEP’s Green Economy Panel said:

“This is a major step forward in delivering on our ambition of creating a resource smart City Region for our businesses and residents. These projects have the potential to transfer control of energy provision in the region from large national and multi-national suppliers to local organisations and businesses.

“When these schemes are functional, they will enhance the investment offer to businesses looking to invest in the region as well as supporting efforts to alleviate fuel poverty.

“Alongside these major economic advantages, these potential projects also have the ability to save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide and secure the long-term provision of energy to the City Region”

Similar schemes have been long been adopted across Europe and have proved popular with businesses looking to make savings and implement efficiency measures. The funding for this project was committed to the region in 2014 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the expected investment as a result of these projects is estimated at over £160m.

Alongside those six projects identified, the LEP will also continue research to identify further opportunities for district heat across the Leeds City Region.