The network, built in central Glenrothes, a small town in Fife, provides low carbon heating to Fife House complex, Rothes Halls and the sheltered housing complex at Jubilee Grove by using the steam from the RWE biomass CHP plant at nearby Markinch.
It’s being supported with £8.559m from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and is a collaborative project between Fife Council and RWE.
Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, opened the network on Thursday (April 25).
He said: ‘This ambitious project is already providing reliable low carbon heat to a number of buildings and has potential for expansion in the future.
‘I would like to congratulate both Fife Council and RWE on the way in which they have worked in partnership and their success in constructing the new energy centre and network within the town centre which will make a valuable contribution towards reducing carbon emissions and our renewable heat targets.’
Cllr Ross Vettraino, Fife Council’s spokesperson for the environment added: ‘Fife continues leading the way in tackling climate change. Bringing this district heating scheme to Glenrothes helps Fife Council reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 42% by 2020.
‘The scheme demonstrates how to tackle the Government’s long-term climate change targets at a local level and helps build confidence in modern, low carbon heat technology.’
A recent report said district heat networks could meet 50% of the UK’s heat demand and save the UK economy £3bn.
However, the report argues that capital costs are the main barrier to district heat network deployment and says the UK must find ways to reduce these costs in order to increase the attractiveness of heat networks when compared against other forms of low carbon heat provision.