Work on Bridgend town district heat network expected to start in spring 2020

(Title Image: Bridgend Council)

There’ve been a few snippets over the last year or so about a district energy network in Bridgend county as part of a wider plan to decarbonise domestic energy in the county by 2050. Yesterday morning, a Bridgend Council scrutiny committee was updated on progress to date (pdf).

As I’ve previously said, the potential (stress potential) wider economic impact of the programme for Bridgend county is estimated to be anything up to £7.4billion (yes, billion). I don’t know how they figured that out, but it’s presumably because Bridgend would act as a testing ground for this type of project. When other areas decide they want to do the same, most of the expertise will be based here.

The plans currently comprise of:

  • A district heat system for Bridgend town centre, focused on the Sunnyside area, which could be expanded in the future to supply other areas of the town centre.
  • A mine water heat project in Caerau, which is hoped will supply several hundred homes, community buildings and Caerau Primary School, in part to cut fuel poverty rates.
  • Pilot projects to find a cost-effective way to convert domestic heating from gas to electric heat pumps.
  • Developing an electric bus recharging facility at the Cenin Renewables biomass plant at Stormy Down.

As for costings, the first phase of the town district heat scheme is expected to cost around £4.3million and the Caerau mine water scheme around £10million. BCBC’s contribution to both is around £2million with the rest coming from the UK and Welsh governments as well as some EU funding.

As for timings, the procurement process for the town district heat network is expected to start this month (July 2019) with a contractor in place by February 2020 and the project delivered by December 2020. A decision on the business case for the second phase extension to other parts of the town centre is expected by autumn 2019.

A business case for the Caerau scheme is being developed and BCBC’s Cabinet will decide whether to go ahead at a later date.

An initial design for the Stormy Down project has been completed, but further work and funding is needed to take the project further.

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