Construction of Mersey Heat Energy Centre under way

Spades in the ground at Mersey Heat Energy Centre

Work has commenced on the Mersey Heat Network Energy Centre at Liverpool Waters, which will provide low carbon heat and hot water to thousands of homes and businesses around the city in its first phase.

Peel NRE is building the facility at Princes Dock, led by Peel NRE’s district heat network specialist, Ener-Vate.

The network will reduce reliance on fossil fuels and save 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year – the equivalent of taking 1,000 cars off the roads.

The Energy Centre will be home to one of the UK’s largest water source heat pumps, taking heat from the water in the nearby Leeds/Liverpool Canal and using it to heat surrounding homes and businesses via a six km district heating network.

The network will provide low carbon heat and hot water for up to 6,700 homes and 1.3 million sq ft of commercial space at the Liverpool Waters development as well as wider domestic and commercial buildings across Liverpool.

This initial phase of the project could supply 20GWh of heat every year with planning permission in place to expand the project to supply around 45GWh – the equivalent of supplying 17,000 new homes with heating and hot water.

Peel NRE has appointed renewable energy company Vital Energi to design and build the Energy Centre. Partners from Peel, Ener-Vate and Vital Energi came together to mark the start of construction at the site off Great Howard Street, which it is expected will be complete by September 2024.

Myles Kitcher, managing director, Peel NRE, said: “Emissions from heat are the single biggest contributor to UK carbon emissions, accounting for around a third of the nation’s carbon footprint. Finding alternative low carbon sources of heat will be vital if we’re to stay on track to achieve net zero by 2050.

“This ambitious project has the potential to provide enough low carbon heat for over a fifth of the homes in Liverpool, cementing the city at the heart of the region’s decarbonisation journey.”

Jo Longdon, commercial director, Ener-Vate said: “This project will hopefully be pioneering for this strategic waterfront regeneration location and beyond and be an anchor for growth along on the journey to city-wide decarbonisation.”

Chris Capes, director for development at Liverpool Waters, said: “This is a critical step on our journey to delivering the sustainable regeneration of Liverpool’s northern docklands.”

Andrew Wightman, pre-construction director at Vital Energi, said: “The Energy Centre has been designed to expand alongside the Liverpool Waters development, so will play a pivotal part in the long term green future of Liverpool’s dockside.”

Two km of highly insulated district heating pipework has already been installed, with the expansion adding an extra 1.2 km of district heating pipework which will run throughout Trafalgar and Central Docks and bring low carbon heating and hot water to more residents and businesses.