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Forgemasters connects to new lower carbon heating network

06 March 2014

Sheffield Forgemasters has joined forces with E.ON to connect to a new £20m low carbon district heating network to be built in the lower Don Valley.

Powered by the heat from E.ON’s soon-to-be completed Blackburn Meadows renewable energy plant, the 8km district heating pipe network will supply low carbon heat to Forgemasters' quarter mile long South Machine Shop.

The energy plant, currently being built in the north-west of the city on the site of the former Tinsley Power Station, will produce 30MW of electricity – enough power for around 40,000 homes. By capturing a further 25MW of heat energy which would otherwise be lost in more traditional energy generation, the energy plant is made yet more efficient and effective.

Victoria Hinchcliffe, Group Environment Director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “As an energy intensive user, Forgemasters is very pleased to be part of the Lower Don Valley heat network. We are always seeking new ways to reduce our carbon emissions and improve our environmental performance. We look forward to supporting this local project as well as exploring how we may potentially capture some of our own waste heat to feed back in to the network in the future."

The network will also heat world class sports and leisure facilities operated by Sheffield International Venues including iceSheffield , the English Institute of Sport - Sheffield and the Motorpoint Arena.

iceSheffield, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield and the Motorpoint Arena are expected to see an average carbon saving of 70% compared to other sources of heating such as gas boilers, saving an estimated 1,700 tonnes of Co2 per year.

More major customers will be announced shortly and hundreds, if not thousands, of residential customers could follow, for newly built homes along the pipe route.

The energy plant, currently nearing completion in the north-west of the city on the site of the former Tinsley Power Station and cooling towers, will produce 29MW of electricity – enough power for around 40,000 homes. By capturing a further 25MW of heat energy which would otherwise be lost in traditional energy generation, this green energy plant is more efficient and effective.

Don Leiper, Director of New Business at E.ON, said: “Building on the construction of our renewable energy plant at Blackburn Meadows, this is a substantial investment in Sheffield’s energy future and I’m delighted we’ve already been able to secure customers to our network, organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprints and benefit from a secure and locally-produced heat energy supply.

“Blackburn Meadows is already designed to be an efficient and sustainable power generation source, fuelled by waste wood and providing carbon savings the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road each year. By capturing the heat and providing it for use by nearby businesses we are effectively almost doubling the efficiency of the plant and the environmental benefits to customers.”

Councillor Jack Scott, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene,said: “We are determined to build on Sheffield’s reputation as one of the greenest cities, so this development is excellent news for our great city. It will enable the Lower Don Valley to access environmentally friendly energy and help to improve Sheffield’s unique District Energy System and ensure it works effectively all across the city.

“I’m delighted with this project, which will show to everyone that Sheffield is one of the leading cities in the country in bringing ‘green’ energy into local businesses, sporting facilities and homes.”

The heat energy will be transported to customers along a network of super-insulated pipes running from the plant into the lower Don Valley. Much of the pipeline will be underground or on private land keeping disruption to a minimum during the construction phase.

Blackburn Meadows will use UK sourced recycled waste wood to power the plant and, as far as is possible, has used local companies throughout the construction. It is expected the site will create around 30 full-time jobs within the local area once operational.