Go ahead for waterfront low carbon heat network

Planners at Liverpool City Council have give the go-ahead for a low carbon energy plant at Liverpool Waters that that will provide heat and hot water for thousands of homes. Tony McDonough reports

Energy Centre
Peel NRE energy centre to be built at Liverpool Waters


Work on a low carbon power plant that will provide heat and hot water thousands of homes on Liverpool’s waterfront is to start this summer.

City planners have given the go-ahead for the energy centre at Peel L&P’s £5bn Liverpool Waters development in the northern docklands. Its energy subsidiary, Peel NRE, will build and operate the energy centre that will save around 4,200 tonnes of carbon a year.

Located between Great Howard Street and Sherwood Street, the facility will use water source heat pumps and thermal stores to provide heat to Peel NRE’s Mersey Heat district heat network. This will provide hot water to up to 9,000 homes and 4m sq ft of commercial space.

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It includes plans for two 3MW water source heat pumps which would work on an ‘open loop’ system to take heat from water abstracted from the Leeds/Liverpool canal before pumping it back into the dock system.  

Two thermal stores capable of holding 260 cubic metres of hot water will also be installed alongside heat only gas boilers with a combined capacity of up to 40MW as a backup, and for use during times of peak demand. The project is part funded by the Merseyside Pension Fund.

Jonathan Burley, commercial director at Peel NRE, said: “This new facility will use renewable technologies as the main energy source to generate heat for the Mersey Heat network and connect homes and offices to low carbon heat and hot water. 

“We’re pleased to receive planning permission for the energy centre to help meet national and regional climate emergency targets and we will explore options to decarbonise the network further as and when new technology develops.”

District heat specialist, Vital Energi is installing the Mersey Heat network on behalf of Peel NRE. Its managing director for North and Scotland, Mike Cooke, added: “The Mersey Heat Network is a major part of Liverpool’s developing low-carbon infrastructure and Peel NRE receiving planning permission for this new facility is fantastic news.

“The energy centre will be instrumental, not only to the network’s immediate success connecting new developments, but also to its continued expansion. The project has been future proofed with the capability to connect to existing city centre buildings, so that it can meet the long-term decarbonisation goals of Liverpool.”

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