Further expansion revealed for city’s £62m heating network

More people in Leeds will soon have access to affordable low carbon heat thanks to four new connections to the Leeds PIPES district heating network, as confirmed by Leeds City Council.

New plans for two major extensions to the network – which would enable dozens more buildings to connect – have also been published by the local authority.

The scheme has been supported by £5.4m worth of Government funding to date.

The council and its principal contractor, Vital Energi, have hosted Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance), who visited to learn more about how the scheme is transforming the city.

By using heat and energy recovered from non-recyclable waste at a Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) to provide warmth and hot water to buildings in the city, the Leeds PIPES district heating project is helping businesses and residents move away from costly fossil-fuel powered heating systems.

The council estimates the network is helping existing customers collectively save nearly half a million pounds (£490,000) in reduced energy costs this year alone.

The £62m network continues to expand. Leeds Combined Court Centre and Leeds Magistrates’ Court were the latest buildings to take heat from the scheme earlier this year.

The four latest buildings, including the first private-sector residential developers, which have confirmed their intention to connect to the network within the next 12 months, are:

Spinner’s Yard around Mabgate, developed by Rise Homes.
Leonardo and Thoresby buildings on Gt George Street, developed by McLaren on behalf of Arrow Leonardo.
The redevelopment of Leeds Technology Campus on Cookridge Street, developed by Metropolitan & District Securities.
Leeds Conservatoire, on Quarry Hill.

Separately, senior councillors have approved an application for up to £20m of grant funding which, if successful, would enable more significant extensions to the existing network.

The first new extension would see another 600m of pipes laid from Little Queen Street to Wellington Street.

A second extension, in the South Bank, would see about 7 km of low carbon heat network installed from Clarence Road to Sweet Street and eventually connecting to the existing Leeds PIPES infrastructure.

Subject to funding and final approval, construction of the extensions could begin as soon as 2024.

Buildings and developments located near the underground pipes can choose to connect at any time and the council is in discussions with around 40 potential customers.

The Leeds PIPES project – delivered in partnership with Vital Energi – has helped employ more than 430 people in the local low carbon sector to date.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, said: “Year after year, the Leeds PIPES district heating network continues to gain momentum.

“By planning to bring the network to completely different parts of the city, we’ll soon be able to give many more businesses and residents a new opportunity to move away from costly fossil-fuels and towards a greener future with Leeds PIPES heating.”

Mike Cooke, Vital Energi’s managing director (North and Scotland), said: “We believe it is a scheme which sets the standards for what major cities can achieve and look forward to working with Leeds City Council on Leeds PIPES’ continued expansion.”