PLANS to bring affordable low carbon energy to Solihull town centre have received a major boost with planning approval for a new ‘Low Carbon Energy Centre’.
CO2 emitted from heating currently accounts for around one third of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Working with partners, Solihull Council has been developing plans to build a town centre energy network using low carbon and renewable energy.
It will distribute heat from a single energy centre into town centre buildings via a network of underground pipes.
Plans for the energy centre, which will lie at the heart of this network, have now received the green light.
The planning application was unanimously approved by the council on Wednesday evening, May 19, marking a major milestone for the scheme.
Housing a range of renewable and low carbon energy solutions, including air source heat pumps and gas combined heat and power, the energy centre, to be sited next to Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, will provide heat and power to nearby public and private sector customers, including council owned buildings, education campuses and commercial offices.
Materials for the two storey building have also been carefully chosen to help it sit in its natural surroundings.
The proposals also include plans to install a footpath adjacent to the energy centre which will allow passers-by to see how the energy centre is performing as well as improve access to the park.
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, portfolio holder for climate change, planning and housing said: “It’s fantastic news that we have now secured planning permission for this exciting project.
“The energy centre will be the beating heart of our network and represents an exciting opportunity to offer town centre customers an efficient and affordable alternative energy source while delivering significant carbon savings.”
So far funding for the carbon saving scheme has been provided by the government’s Heat Networks Investment Programme (HNIP) and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The council is now working with its partners to finalise a full business case and appoint a final contractor to build, maintain and operate the network.
First phase customers could be hooked up and start benefiting from the network from as early as spring 2023.