£100m project launched to heat homes with waste in new Midlothian town
A £100 MILLION project which will see thousands of homes in a new town heated by a local waste site has been launched in Midlothian.
Midlothian Council has started the search for an energy partner which can help develop projects over the next 25 to 40 years.
The first aim is to create a local heating network for the new Shawfair town development using energy produced by the nearby Millerhill Energy from Waste (EfW) plant.
It plans to use the energy produced by the £164m plant to ensure cheaper heating is offered to local residents.
Among its main objectives for the new energy firm is to “help alleviate fuel poverty, particularly amongst tenants of social housing, and ensure lower energy costs than over available tariffs”.
The council anticipates heating up to 3,000 homes along with a new school and council building alongside a back-up energy centre.
Part of the project will need to be in place by September 2021 to ensure it meets funding conditions applied to its plans.
The search for an energy partner is expected to see Midlothian Council create a jointly owned Energy Services Company (ESCo).
Other partners named in documents issued by the council are the City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, the University of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University, Scottish Enterprise and NHS Lothian.
All of the partners are expected to be involved in some of the projects and may buy energy produced by the new company once it is established.
Midlothian Council launched the search for an energy partner just months after the Millerhill EfW became fully operational.
Millerhill was a jointly funded waste centre which takes refuse from surrounding areas and converts it into energy.
The local authority said: “The first project likely to be progressed is the development, delivery and operation of a top up/back-up energy centre and associated district heating network to serve the emerging Shawfair town of at least 1,885 but up to 2, 950 homes plus associated council buildings such as a new school.”
The deadline for bids to become the new partner was on Wednesday and the council is considering the tenders.