Plans to extend Leeds PIPES network into new area revealed

Leeds PIPES network (August 2023)

Leeds City Council has confirmed that more people in Leeds will soon enjoy affordable, reliable, and low carbon heat, thanks to four new connections to the Leeds PIPES district heating network.

New plans for two major extensions to the network, which would enable dozens more buildings to connect, have also been published by the local authority and discussed by senior members.

The scheme has been supported by £5.4 million of government funding to date, and the council and its principal contractor, Vital Energi were delighted to host Lord Callanan, Parliamentary under Secretary of State, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, to visit the network to learn more about how the flagship scheme is transforming the city.

The Minister visited several landmarks and connections on the network, including the Recycling & Energy Recovery Facility (RERF), Cross Green Energy centre and St James’s Hospital, where he met members from the NHS Estates and Facilities team. Lord Callanan also visited Shakespeare Towers and met council tenants connected to the heat network.

By using heat and energy recovered from non-recyclable waste at the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) to provide warmth and hot water to buildings in the city, the Leeds PIPES district heating project is helping businesses and residents to move away from costly fossil fuel-powered heating systems.

The council estimates that the network is helping existing customers to collectively save nearly half a million pounds (£490,000) in reduced energy costs this year alone.

The £62 million network continues to expand and is regularly connecting to new buildings. Leeds Combined Court Centre and Leeds Magistrates’ Court were the latest buildings to take heat from the scheme earlier this year.

Last year, the network of insulated underground pipes supplied 22,029MW/h of heating in total and helped reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 3,975t.

The four latest buildings, including the first private sector residential developers, which have confirmed their intention to connect to the network within the next 12 months are:

  • Spinner’s Yard around Margate, developed by Rise Homes
  • Leonardo and Thoresby buildings on Gt George Street, developed by McLaren on behalf of Arrow Leonardo
  • The redevelopment of Leeds Technology Campus on Cookridge Street, developed by Metropolitan & District Securities
  • Leeds Conservatoire on Quarry Hill

Work to develop the detailed project plans and business cases required to secure funding for and construct the new extensions is currently underway after the council successfully secured £154,000 of grant funding from the government’s Heat Network Development Unit earlier this year.

The major Leeds PIPES project—delivered in partnership with Vital Energi—has helped employ more than 430 people in the local low carbon sector to date, including 36 apprentices.

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