£35million Leeds Heat Network launches

One of the UK’s largest Heat Networks was officially launched today by Leeds City Council, Vital Energi and The Co-Operative Academy. The launch marks a major step towards delivering a new flagship heat and hot water system for thousands of homes and businesses in Leeds, and was attended by leading figures from Leeds City Council, Vital Energi, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and European Regional Development Fund.

The heat network is set to connect 1,983 council homes and numerous business around Leeds City Centre. The £35 million network, developed in partnership between Leeds City Council and energy company Vital Energi, will connect to the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF). By taking steam generated at the Veolia operated RERF, converting it into hot water, and distributing it along a 16.5km network of district heating pipes, the heat network will connect homes and businesses in Leeds to a new, environmentally friendly source of heating and hot water.

The network is set to bring major benefits to Leeds, with a projected annual cut of 22,000 tonnes in the city’s carbon dioxide emissions. By cutting these emissions, the heat network is set to improve air quality around the city, whilst bringing major local employment opportunities, including 30 work experience placements and apprenticeships. Heat is scheduled to be available for Spring 2019, with all homes connected by autumn 2020. Once in operation the network will provide low-carbon heating and hot water across the city.

New internal heating systems as well as a smart metering solution will be provided for 23 apartment blocks to give residents greater control over their energy consumption. Being connected to the heat network is predicted to offer tenants energy bill savings of between 10% and 25% per year, helping to tackle fuel poverty and reducing bills of vulnerable residents.

The Leeds District Heating Network has received £4million funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across
Leeds City Region. An additional £5.8 million of European Regional Development Funding has been received to assist to connect 1,080 council homes in the Lincoln Green area.

The project was formally launched today (22 March 2018), at a ceremony where the network was given its official name – the Leeds PIPES Network. This name was chosen by a judging panel following a naming competition open to Year 9 pupils at the local Co-Operative Academy. Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, announced the winners of the naming competition – Jamila Ali, Ejona Cakaj, Lora Milova and Wiktoria Glowacka.

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for environment and sustainability, explained:

“Today marks a very significant day in the development of Leeds as a low-carbon city. The Leeds PIPES Network will revolutionise the way that heat and hot water is delivered around Leeds, taking advantage of Leeds City Council’s previous investment in the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility.

“This complements our work on air quality – taking old gas boilers out of commission will have a big impact on background NoX.

“Once complete, Leeds PIPES will save thousands of Leeds residents and businesses a significant amount on their energy bills every month.

“However, today is just the beginning. This phase of the heat network will connect 1,983 council homes and numerous businesses to low carbon, lower cost heat and hot water. But we have designed our network with the future in mind and this first phase of works is just the start. In the coming years I look forward to seeing the Leeds PIPES Network grow, making a real difference for the people and environment of Leeds.”

Nick Gosling, Group Sales and Strategy Director for Vital Energi, added:

“We are delighted to be working with Leeds City Council to bring low carbon district heating to the City of Leeds. This project is a great example of how a heat network of this scale can be created for a major city, to recycle energy from the City’s waste recycling and energy recovery facility, and use it to bring a range of benefits to the community. The Co-Operative Academy have been fantastic in developing the name and imagery for the project which we will showcase around the site. We would like to thank them for all of their creative contributions to the competition.

“We are excited to continue our work with the Leeds City Council teams, council tenants, local community, businesses and schools, to communicate progress and key developments on the project and promote the job opportunities as part of our key commitments on the project. We look forward to delivering this step change in provision of heating and hot water for the people and businesses of Leeds.”

Simon Pringle, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Green Economy Panel said:

“The launch of this District Heat Network is great news for Leeds and the wider City Region and takes us a step closer to achieving our ambition for cheaper, cleaner local heat for the Leeds City Region.

This is the first of a number of schemes under the City Region’s District Heat programme. It will heat homes and businesses, contribute towards reducing carbon emissions and fuel bills and put us on a path to more sustainable model of urban development.”