Energy-From-Waste District Heating Scheme Planned For Midlothian

A new energy-from-waste (EfW) district heating scheme has been given the go-ahead by Midlothian Council. Materials Recycling World reports that the project is to be a joint venture between the council and energy firm Vattenfall.

The plans were altered, to include both electric and biofuel boilers as part of the backup scheme, and it was thought that this would lead to a new environmental impact assessment. However, the council have decided that the change will have no significant impact.

The new EfW scheme will provide low carbon heat via a district network to homes and public buildings around the Edinburgh area. Paul Steen, head of business development and region north at Vattenfall Heat UK, said: “One of the toughest challenges the UK faces is decarbonising how we heat our homes and businesses.

He added: “Our partnership with Midlothian Council will serve as a demonstration of how to establish and grow low-carbon energy solutions across Scotland and the UK. We are delighted with the progress that this project is making and welcome the support, in the form of funding, from Scottish Government that is critical to enabling projects like this.”

The £20m energy centre will be built at Millerhill, the Midlothian Advertiser reported earlier this year. The council will work with Swedish state energy firm Vattenfall to build and set up the scheme, which is expected to save over 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. It is hoped that the new network will eventually provide heat for up to 3,000 homes in the area.

The new partnership will be known as Energy Services Company (ESC), and the aim is to provide heat for the new town of Shawfair, eventually expanding into East Lothian and Edinburgh. £7.3m of funding will be provided by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Programme.

Sweden makes far greater use of district heating than the UK. The green energy schemes heat over half of the country’s commercial and residential buildings. They make use of heat that would otherwise have gone to waste, such as surplus heat from industry, and from fuel sources that are sustainable, such as woodchip and forest by-produce.

The UK has plans to install more district heating schemes by 2030, in order to help meet the government’s carbon neutral targets. They have a far lower carbon footprint than fossil fuel heat sources, and are also very cost-effective. The schemes do require some significant alteration to infrastructure, in order to install the necessary miles of pipe networks.

The Millerhill site in Midlothian will be built alongside its recycling and energy recovery centre, which will provide fuel for the heating network. Underground pipes will run adjacent to a strip of woodland which will be subject to a tree survey, and existing native trees will be retained where possible.

Investigations are also being carried out to see if it will be possible to work with the Coal Authority to capture heat from mine water at the former Monktonhall Colliery, according to another report in Materials Recycling World.

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