Work on Liverpool Waters heat centre begins

Peel NRE starts work on a Danish-style multi-million pound Mersey Heat Energy Centre at Liverpool Waters that will supply low carbon heating and hot water to thousands of homes. Tony McDonough reports

Mersey Heat Network Energy Centre
Work starts on Mersey Heat Network Energy Centre at Liverpool Waters


Work has started on the multi-million pound Mersey Heat Energy Centre at Liverpool Waters.

In February 2021 Peel NRE won planning consent to build an energy centre at Great Howard Street. It will provide 20GWh of low carbon heating and hot water to thousands of homes as well as multiple businesses.

Initially, it will supply homes and businesses within the Liverpool Waters project itself. Currently there are 1,158 apartments in the development with a further 263 dwellings in the immediate pipeline. Princes Dock is also home to a number of office buildings.

Up to 6,700 homes within Liverpool Waters could eventually benefit from the heat network as well as 1.3m sq ft of commercial space. 

Planning permission is in place to expand the facility to generate around 45GWh of heat and hot water. This could supply up to 17,000 homes.

Led by Peel NRE’s district heat network specialist Ener-Vate, the project will be home to one of the UK’s largest water source heat pumps, taking heat from the water in the nearby Leeds/Liverpool Canal.

District heat networks are common in countries such as Denmark but have been slow to gather traction in the UK. Peel NRE says the Liverpool Waters facility will save around 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Myles Kitcher, managing director of Peel NRE, said: “Emissions from heat are the single biggest contributor to UK carbon emissions, accounting for around a third of the nation’s carbon footprint.

“Finding alternative low-carbon sources of heat will be vital if we’re to stay on track to achieve net zero by 2050.

“This ambitious project has the potential to provide enough low carbon heat for over a fifth of the homes in Liverpool, cementing the city at the heart of the region’s decarbonisation journey.”


Mersey Heat, Liverpool Waters
Pipes have been installed by Peel NRE for the Mersey Heat district heat network


Peel NRE has appointed renewable energy company Vital Energi to design and build the Energy Centre. It is expected to be completed by September 2024. It is backed by £13m from Merseyside Pension Fund.

Vital Energi will be extending the district heating system throughout the area. 2km of highly insulated district heating pipework has already been installed.

READ MORE: Liverpool city centre apartment rents soar by up to 12%

Jo Longdon, commercial director of Ener-Vate, said: “This heat network will be initially installed in the Liverpool Waters area but it has the ability to be scaled up to provide low carbon heat and hot water to the city of Liverpool.

“This project will hopefully be pioneering for this strategic waterfront regeneration location and beyond and be an anchor for growth along on the journey to city-wide decarbonisation.”

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