Cofely, a GDF SUEZ company, has marked the completion of the new £15m District Energy scheme for Leicester. The city wide scheme will enable 3,000 homes, as well as council owned and other buildings in Leicester, to be provided with environmentally friendly energy.

The Leicester District Energy Scheme is a 25 year partnership between Leicester City Council and Cofely District Energy, to initially link four existing district heat schemes and then extend the enlarged network further across the City. The system is the largest of its kind in the UK to be installed city wide in one phase.

It uses a combination of over 5MW of low carbon gas fired combined heat and power (CHP) and biomass boilers. Overall the scheme will provide 51MW of heat capacity, across a total network of 14km of newly installed pipework and help to achieve carbon savings of around 12,000 tonnes per year. It is anticipated that these carbon savings will rise to more than 20,000 tonnes per year by 2020.

Included in the scheme are two new 1.6MW CHP engines at the University of Leicester, that will also provide heating to several key civic buildings including De Montfort Hall, the Town Hall, Moat Community College and Leicester Central Library. It will also provide heat to HM Prison Leicester. Work to lay the total of 14km of pre-insulated pipework required took around 18 months – but has been completed five weeks ahead of schedule.

Speaking at an event to mark the launch, deputy city mayor cllr Rory Palmer said, “This is a major milestone for Leicester and our commitment to making this a low carbon city. The District Energy Scheme will help us make major carbon reductions and is a huge step forward to helping us achieve energy stability in the city. We will now be working to encourage other local organisations to join the scheme, and help us to extend the benefits of combined heat and power further across the city.”

Simon Woodward, chief executive of Cofely District Energy, added, “We are incredibly proud to have been involved in this ambitious project. The Leicester District Energy scheme is one of the largest projects of its type in the UK to be constructed in one phase and installation has been completed ahead of schedule, and on budget. Now fully operational, the scheme will stand as an example of what can be achieved with the vision and ambition that Leicester City Council has shown.”

Grant Charman, deputy director of estates at the University said, “We have a sector leading carbon reduction target (60% by 2020) and the District Energy scheme will help the University to make the first big reductions against this target.”