Glenrothes Heat

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Glenrothes Heat Takes An Important Step Forward

Stage one of the planning process has been lodged to develop a district heat scheme in Glenrothes.

This would supply low carbon heat to a range of business, community, public sector and domestic customers in the centre of Glenrothes.

A planning application has been submitted to Fife Council for the construction of the heat distribution network. In conjunction with this, the project is currently pursuing a live funding application with Scottish Government. Fife Council will consider a report on this project at Executive Committee on 28 March 2017.

The project now enters a 12 week consultation period and an event will be held on Wednesday 29 March 3.30pm to 8.00pm at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes. Members of the Glenrothes Heat project team will be present to answer any questions about the scheme.

Cllr John Wincott, executive spokesperson for environment and transportation said: “Fife Council is committed to tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions. We've set ourselves the target of reducing our carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Glenrothes Heat will contribute significantly to the climate change targets and could potentially reduce fuel poverty in Glenrothes households and provide cost savings for businesses.

“The consultation period will allow anyone affected by these plans to engage in the process and share their views. I urge anyone interested in this project to go along to the event on 29 March.”

Glenrothes Heat would use the local biomass fuelled power station, owned and operated by RWE, to provide hot water and heating for local businesses, community facilities, council offices and homes in the centre of Glenrothes.

What is Glenrothes Heat?

RWE and Glenrothes

A district heat scheme which would supply low carbon heat to a range of business, community, public sector and domestic customers in the centre of Glenrothes. Utilising the heat from the RWE Markinch Biomass CHP plant, which was formally opened in March 2015. The project team for Glenrothes Heat, has been set up with representatives of Fife Council, RWE and the Scottish Government.

Stage one of the planning process has been lodged to develop a district heat scheme in Glenrothes.

A planning application has been submitted to Fife Council for the construction of the heat distribution network. In conjunction with this, the project is currently pursuing a live funding application with Scottish Government. Fife Council will consider a report on this project at Executive Committee on 28 March 2017.

How would Glenrothes Heat work?

Rather than using gas or electricity to provide hot water or heating for local businesses and/or homes in the centre of Glenrothes, the local biomass CHP plant owned and operated by RWE will provide the heat. Highly insulated underground pipes carry the hot water to businesses and homes within an allocated area; at each property a Heat Interface Unit is installed instead of a boiler and provides the resident with full heating control and domestic hot water generation. This is known as district or community heating.

Fife Council provide your waste wood from Recycling Centres as fuel at the RWE biomass plant at Markinch. It uses 90% waste wood to create energy providing businesses with a lower cost energy provider and helping to prevent climate change. The remaining 10% of wood is sourced from sustainable Scottish timber production under long term contact from the Forestry Commission.

What are the benefits?

  • Using a source of low cost, low carbon heating for homes and businesses in the local area
  • Working towards reducing fuel poverty
  • Creating heat from waste wood products
  • Supporting jobs and investment in the national forestry industry and protecting our rural environment.

Community heating schemes have been well received in the UK, examples include Aberdeen Heat and Power, Glasgow Commonwealth Games Athletes Village, Wyndford Estate, Dunfermline Community Energy scheme. A resident of Brownriggs Court scheme in Newcastle upon Tyne, Helen Speed said “I have lived in this property on the communal scheme just over three years. I moved from a property with an individual gas boiler which was much more expensive. I am using less energy and spending less money which is great!’’

Q&A’s about Glenrothes Heat


· Who is carrying out the study and when?

Following a comprehensive competitive tendering process, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff have been awarded the contract to carry out the technical appraisal. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff have extensive experience in assessment, design and delivery of district heating networks. They started work in mid-July 2016 and finished November 2016. Much of the work was desk and telephone based research.

  • Who are RWE?

RWE is a leading UK energy company and part of the RWE Group. The company is responsible for the construction of the biomass-based combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Markinch. This plant is the largest power plant of its kind in the country. The plant was officially inaugurated in March 2015 by Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing and required an investment of over £300 million. The project created more than 600 jobs during construction and 40 permanent positions

  • Who is paying for it?

The project team have secured project development support funding from Scotland’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), for the first phase of this project. LCITP is supported by European Regional Development Funds.District/Community Heating is a key component of Scottish Government’s approach to meet Scotland's climate change targets and secure the transition to a low carbon economy in Scotland. To secure sustainable economic growth, Scotland aims to have 40, 000 homes supplied through district or communal heating by 2020.

  • Why Glenrothes?

In Glenrothes we have the unique opportunity to utilise the heat produced by the RWE Biomass CHP Plant, therefore avoiding the need to build one of the most expensive elements of a new scheme.

  • Will it be better than the last community heating network we had?

YES! Technology has developed in such a way that we believe there is potential for a cost effective community heating system to be delivered to Glenrothes premises. Modern community heating schemes are as flexible and controllable as domestic gas boiler systems. The difference users will notice is in the lower costs of heating and hot water supplies.

  • Which areas in Glenrothes are being researched?

This first phase is focussed on the area around the town centre close to the biomass plant. The project will look at heating requirements of public buildings, commercial, industrial and domestic premises in this area. The intention is to develop a network capable of being expanded in the future.

  • How were they chosen?

To ensure the scheme is cost effective (and therefore capable of delivering energy cost savings to customers), community heating schemes need to include large ‘anchor’ heat loads. The town centre and Queensway industrial area, provides the greatest potential to maximise heat sales.

  • Is it looking at houses, retail premises and/or offices?

The potential to heat all properties in the area will be examined.

  • Will I be asked any questions?

During the initial study, questions will be directed to a sample of businesses and households. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff are seeking to determine the heat requirements of potential customers and understand what existing heating methods are currently being used, when they were last upgraded and what investment would be required to connect to a new community wide scheme.

  • What happens next?

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff will report their findings to the Glenrothes Heat project team. The aim of the study is to create an investment grade business case whereby if there’s a decision to go ahead, potential investors such as the UK Governments Green Investment Bank, Scottish Government’s District Heating Loan Scheme and private investors are willing to provide funding to build the heat network.

Technical details

  • What is the source of the heat?

The heat will primarily be produced by RWE’s Biomass CHP Plant, however other potential heat generators will be considered for inclusion in the scheme.

  • What happens when the CHP plant is off for maintenance?

A key component of the potential scheme would be the construction of an energy centre housing heat storage units and gas fired back-up boilers. This will ensure heat is available 24 hrs a day 365 days a year.

  • Is there enough heat for everyone?

The RWE biomass CHP has the potential to generate enough heat to supply the whole of Glenrothes. However the cost of laying the pipe network that would be required makes that unfeasible to start with. So a small area of Glenrothes is being investigated to start with and the the possibility of expansion will be investigated in later stages.

  • Who would I pay for the heat?

In parallel to the technical study, the project team have appointed legal and financial advisors to advise on potential operating structures i.e. who will run the network, who will be the heat supplier to customers. A common model in practice elsewhere is to set up a new Energy Supply Company (ESCo). The ESCo would comprise partners such as Fife Council and investors in the scheme. Who exactly is involved depends on who eventually invests in developing the scheme. At this stage the project team are considering the options.

Tenant / business / retail queries

  • Will I need a new boiler?

No, connection to a community heating network replaces existing boilers with a Heat Interface Unit (HIU). HIUs are a similar size to modern gas boilers and provide localised metering and control of the heat consumed in a self-contained package.

  • If not, what modifications will I have to make?

For potential customers with electric heating, connection would require radiators and pipes to beinstalled. Community heating networks work in much the same way as heating homes and businesses with gas boilers. For domestic users connection to existing radiators is as easy as fitting a new gas boiler.

  • How much will it cost me to connect?

At this stage the project team will be reviewing all the charging options and taking advice from consultants on what works best on other schemes. It’s likely that some potential customers may want to pay nothing upfront and roll costs into their monthly bills, others (particularly business customers), would prefer to see the lowest ongoing costs and therefore would be prepared to make an initial investment contribution.

  • Will it be cheaper than my existing heating costs?

Yes when compared to the overall cost of heating a building. The energy cost savings will differ depending on the current method of heating. Those with electricity heating will generally see the biggest savings. Connection to a community heating network needs to be considered as a long term investment e.g. for customers with a gas boiler they no longer have to buy and maintain an individual boiler.

  • How long will it take to be implemented?

If the scheme goes ahead it will probably take two to three years to fully develop phase 1.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or queries about Glenrothes Heat please contact Lindsey Methven

Lindsey Methven, Investment Officer

Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 22 80 By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY

Twitter @investinfife