Senior councillors have today backed a multi-million pound investment that will pave the way for the first phase of a district heating scheme.
Members of the executive board have approved a £21million investment that would allow the council to construct a proposed underground network to pipe heat from the city’s new recycling and energy recovery facility (RERF) to homes and businesses.
While the plans are still at a very early stage, the first phase could benefit around 2,000 flats and public buildings.
Steam generated by the RERF would be converted to hot water in a dedicated energy centre.
The hot water would then be fed into a proposed 6.4km system of super-insulated steel pipes under the Aire Valley to heat properties along the route into the city centre.
The council has completed heat mapping work to ensure such a district heating scheme is realistic.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said:
“A key benefit of the new recycling facility is the ability to deliver heat generated to homes and buildings.
“Not only could this help the city reduce its carbon emissions, it could help cut resident’s fuel bills by around 10%.
“Such a significant investment will show that we are serious about making Leeds cleaner and greener and demonstrating that district heating networks are a viable source of low carbon heat.”
A £14million contribution from Leeds City Council and a £7million bid under consideration by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, would allow the council to bring on board a partner to design, build and operate the district heating network.
Subject to a successful, separate bid for European funding, the council intends to convert outdated electric storage heaters and replace older communal heating boilers at council multi-storey flats in Lincoln Green, Saxton Gardens and Ebor Gardens areas and connect them to the district heating network.
As the first phase of a citywide district heating scheme, the network of pipes would have additional connections so it could be expanded in the future.