Landmark £63 million project to power Peterborough homes with green energy revealed

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A landmark scheme to fuel Peterborough’s homes has been hailed as potentially the “most exciting green energy project” in the city’s history.

The project was unveiled by Cllr Marco Cereste, cabinet member for waste, street scene and the environment, at Monday’s cabinet meeting.

Cllr Marco Cereste

Cllr Marco Cereste

Introducing the updates that have been made since the council announced a climate change emergency in July, Cllr Cereste said: “We want to create what we call a ‘private wire’, bringing electricity into the city generated from our Energy Recovery Facility plant at Fourth Drove in Fengate.

“The plant is capable of producing 58GWh of free, totally green energy from the 85,000 tonnes of materials that is processed there every year.

“To put that in real terms, that’s enough energy to power half of all the houses in Peterborough.

“The private wire would mean that all council buildings, and the public in their homes along the route of the wire, will be able to tap-in to that green energy.

“Potentially this could be the most exciting and innovative clean, green energy project the city has ever seen.

“But it gets better than that because I’ve said to my officers, ‘look, we’ve got to dig the trenches for this wire anyhow, why not run a second pipe and put heat in there as well – so you have one wire for the energy and another pipe for heat’.

“This clean, green energy and heat that we will have produced would then follow the wire and pipe all the way from Fengate to the council buildings in the city, along Bourges Boulevard right up to B&Q.

“This is a tremendous initiative and I’m very excited today to have announced that we’ve got the first phase for this project fully funded.

“If the project is successful then we’ll have to make a bid to government for more cash it as it will eventually cost £63 million.

“Will we get the money? Well, Peterborough prides itself on being the environmental capital of the country – what better way to show it,than through a project like this?

“But to give you an idea of how important the project could be, the power and heat that would be fed into buildings and houses in that part of the city would be enough for 40 to 50 per cent of all the homes in Peterborough.

“So we could virtually guarantee that half of the buildings and homes in the city could be green and carbon neutral.

“I think it’s an amazing project, I’m very excited about it and I hope and pray that we can deliver it.”

While the announcement was made that phase one funding has been achieved, no date for completion of the project was given.

Cabinet members also heard from Charlotte Palmer, council group manager for transport and environment, who said: “This council announced a climate change emergency in the summer with aspirations towards zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“As part of that initiative we’re announcing the formation of a new cross-party Climate Change Member Working Group to try and delivery this.

“Peterborough City Council is very concerned about climate change and is committed to the environment which is why it was felt necessary to create a team who can work together as one political organisation.”

The new group’s first role will be to consider a Carbon Impact Assessment (CIA), reporting to Full Council in March 2020.