HEAT from a new £120 million ‘green’ power station being built in Sheffield’s Lower Don Valley could be piped into about 100 new businesses and shops in the surrounding area.
Sheffield Council and power giant E.on, which is building the plant at Blackburn Meadows, are in talks to create a second district heating network similar to the one which operates from the incinerator at Bernard Road, on the edge of the city centre.
The news was revealed as representatives from the council, E.on and energy minister Charles Hendry cut the first sod of earth to begin construction of the Blackburn Meadows station, which will burn waste wood to power up to 40,000 homes and is scheduled to open in 2014.
Heat from the power-generating process could be piped into buildings in the local area.
Andy Nolan, council director of sustainable development, said: “From the outset of this project, we have encouraged E.on not only to look at electricity production, but also utilising the waste heat. We want to work out whether it can be viable to create a heat network for the surrounding area.”
Mr Nolan said heat could be used for a network of buildings about two-thirds the size of the city centre district heating system, which uses heat from burning household waste to warm 140 buildings including the Lyceum Theatre, City Hall, Ponds Forge, Weston Park Hospital, Park Hill Flats, the universities and the Millennium Galleries.
He said: “The new station is next to one of the new Enterprise Zone areas where we are hoping to attract new firms, and also sites earmarked for new retail development around Meadowhall, which could all be connected to receive heat from Blackburn Meadows.”
Mr Nolan said the council was asking the Government whether any financial support was available towards the scheme, part of long-term plans to make Sheffield self-sufficient, producing all its energy by renewable means.
Tom Forrest, E.on director of biomass, said: “The plant in itself will be contribute to improving the environment in Sheffield.
“We will be working with the council to see if we can create a heat network to re-use energy from the power station.”
Mr Hendry said the station, coupled with other planned schemes such as a new coal-fired power station at Hatfield, Doncaster, where carbon capture technology will be used to reduce pollution, made South Yorkshire ‘one of the most exciting places for green energy in the country’.