Vattenfall pens Scottish energy partnership to roll out first UK heat network

Source: press release, 12 February 2020

Carbon footprint cut by 75% when 1,800 new homes in Scottish Midlothian are heated by waste heat
Carbon footprint cut by 75% when 1,800 new homes in Scottish Midlothian are heated by waste heat (illustration: Shawfair LLP)

Scotland is set to be the home of Vattenfall’s first district heating network in the UK after Vattenfall was revealed this week as Midlothian Council’s preferred energy partner, following a competitive bidding process.

The long-term partnership – a 50/50 joint venture – will see the development of a district heating network that will initially deliver heat sourced from a waste and recycling plant to around 1800 new homes in Midlothian’s Shawfair development with a carbon footprint 75% lower than a conventional gas boiler. Over time, the network will expand, taking heat from many sources.

Tuomo Hatakka, head of Vattenfall Business Area Heat says, “The UK is a major market for our heat business. Today, you see a very small proportion of heating – around 4% – coming from low carbon sources. To reach climate change goals, that must change rapidly. This deal means we can take an early market position, showcasing a model we think others will want to replicate. We believe that we can play a leading role in the UK’s transition to low carbon heating, in line with our goal of making fossil free living possible.”

Mike Reynolds, Managing Director of Vattenfall Heat UK adds, “Our role in this partnership is to bring our experience from across Europe to deliver smart energy solutions and design a growing, low carbon heating network that can take advantage of all possible local, low carbon heat sources. There are many interesting avenues that the team are now exploring – including thermal storage offered by local mine works, data centre opportunities as well as working with local SMEs and major organisations to source and procure waste heat.”

“We will install a fourth generation, low temperature heat network designed to go fossil free whilst delivering heating at a very competitive cost to consumers,” he adds.

Midlothian neighbours Edinburgh, one of the UK’s largest cities. Over time, the partnership’s ambition will be to grow the network into the city – providing a model for other UK cities to follow.

The deal will be finalised in the coming months, and the UK heat team is actively recruiting to begin construction of the network later this year.