The next phase of a multi-decade major infrastructure project to build a heat network across the city has been given the green light by the Mayor, who has approved the allocation of £5million of capital funding to the scheme. The new infrastructure will be a cornerstone of the city’s journey to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The heat network will supply low carbon heat to buildings across Bristol through a network of underground pipes connected to a number of energy centres including biomass boilers and gas combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Although the CHP plants will initially run on gas, the capture of waste heat to heat water and buildings results in a more efficient use of the fuel and lower carbon emissions.
As the city moves to carbon neutrality over time, low carbon transition technologies like gas CHP will be replaced by renewable alternatives, further reducing carbon emissions, increasing the city’s resilience to fluctuating energy prices and reducing our reliance on gas.
This is the first major low carbon energy project to be approved by the new Mayor, continuing Bristol on its path to being carbon neutral and to run on 100% renewables by 2050.
Plans for Bristol’s heat network span the entire city and will be taking a phased approach designed to minimise disruption, with pipework for the heat network being laid in different areas of the city as part of other major infrastructure works such as the Arena and Metrobus.
Social housing blocks are already benefitting from work completed on the heat network. New biomass-fuelled heat centres were installed and connected to social housing blocks in 2015-16. Five blocks in Hartcliffe were connected to a 360kW wood pellet boiler supplying over 300 flats with low carbon heat and 13 blocks in Redcliffe to a 1MW system, also wood pellet fuelled and supplying over 700 flats. Combined, these are expected to save over 1,700 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said:
“One of my campaign promises was to put Bristol on course to run entirely on renewable energy by 2050. Without a city-wide heat network this target will not be possible, particularly in a city with a historic centre, where solar and wind technologies are not always an option for technical or financial reasons.”