FCC Environment to supply heat to Midlothian's first community heating network (Scotland)
The Millerhill Energy Recovery and Recycling Centre (ERRC) operated by FCC Environment, a subsidiary of FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente in the United Kingdom, will provide heat for the first community heating network in the county of Midlothian (Scotland). This year alone, the plant is expected to supply the network with 100,000 MWh, which will provide for 3,000 homes, education and retail properties, and will save over 2,500 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off the road.
Vattenfall Heat UK and Midlothian Council are working together under the Midlothian Energy Limited joint venture to capture heat energy from the Millerhill ERRC, energy that would otherwise be wasted. The pipes in this initial phase will be around four kilometres long and will transport heat to provide a cost-effective, low-carbon source of heating and hot water for properties in the town of Shawfair, creating energy networks that could reduce emissions by up to 90% in comparison to individual gas boilers fitted in every home. In addition, taking away reliance on fossil fuels to heat homes and businesses protects customers from market volatility. The plan will benefit from up to £7.3 million (around €8.5 million) from the Scottish Government's Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project.
This initial heat supply will be the catalyst for a wider regional network stretching into south Edinburgh and East Lothian. The Shawfair development is a key feature of the Midlothian Energy Limited's 5-year plan to supply low-carbon heat to more than 30,000 households and commission other energy projects.
Since 2019, the Millerhill ERRC converts non-recyclable household and commercial waste into heat and power. The plant was developed by FCC Environment in partnership with the Edinburgh and Midlothian councils with an investment of £142 million (approximately €165.14 million) to design, finance, build and operate the facility for a period of 25 years. The plant currently diverts 155,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill each year. According to Paul Taylor, Group Chief Executive, "the facility is a key component in the Councils’ combined commitment to helping to reach the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste target."
FCC Environment is an essential player in the energy recovery sector of the United Kingdom, where for example its Eastcroft energy recovery facility in Nottingham (England) supplied 357,962 MWh t of steam energy in 2021 and has been feeding the city's heating network since 1972.