Partnership launches London’s first low carbon energy from waste network

Almost 8,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year will be cut as Southwark Council and its recycling partner Veolia Environmental Services launch London’s first energy from waste district heating network. The reduction is the equivalent of taking 2,700 cars off its roads.

The innovative scheme will see tonnes of rubbish from Southwark homes transformed into heat and hot water this winter.
Energy generated from the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) facility in Deptford will be used to provide heat to 2,500 homes in Bermondsey, Southwark.

Councillor Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, said: “We are proud to be leading the way with our partners, Veolia, in providing alternative options to heat generation. We’ve taken on today’s current challenges around rising gas prices and high carbon emissions head on with this innovative scheme.

“We’re now able to bring about sustainable pricing and significant environment benefits to local communities. This combined with the increased recycling efforts means that we are sending less to landfill than ever before.

Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia Environnement Executive Vice-President, UK and Northern Europe added: “This scheme is a great example to other local authorities of how local waste can be reused to create energy and heat for local homes.  It’s the circular economy made real and represents an important source of renewable energy that will help keep homes warm this winter and improve energy security and diversity of supply. Combining district heating and energy from waste means residents can secure their heating bills for the next twenty years.”

Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, said: “We do not hear enough about heat, it accounts for around half of our total energy consumption and a third of our greenhouse gas emissions.

“Fundamentally, heat is a local issue and finding ways to move to low carbon heating means finding local solutions. That’s where low carbon heat networks play an important role.”

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s Senior Environment and Energy Adviser said: “It’s great that SELCHP is finally living up to its name – it’s innovative schemes like this that both help the environment and reduce fuel bills at a time when national prices are rising. I’d like to congratulate Southwark Council and Veolia for delivering this excellent scheme that should bring real long term benefits to local residents. After maximising waste reduction and recycling, London’s four energy major energy from waste centres could use the remainder to heat and power over 260,000 homes. The Mayor is keen do everything possible to create a more secure, cost-effective and sustainable heat and power supply for London from schemes such as this and from smaller generators. In support of this vision the Mayor is applying for a junior electricity licence to give local generators a better return for their electricity to attract further investment leading to cheaper and lower carbon energy.”

The commitment to heat from waste technology was announced at an official launch ceremony today attended by representatives from local authorities, government officials and leading energy experts. Matthew Pencharz, senior advisor on energy and environment, to the Mayor of London, attended the event as a guest speaker and put forward his vision for energy from waste technology across the capital.

The pioneering scheme presents a viable alternative to traditional gas fired boilers and will provide sustainable and secure heating for the five estates in Bermondsey. In addition, the scheme promises to deliver long term energy cost savings to residents.

The scheme will run for 20 years, after which the council will decide whether to retain the scheme or revert back to the traditional supply of gas.

Since its inception, the SELCHP facility has only generated electricity, which feeds into the National Grid. This will be the first time that heat will be created as part of the energy process.

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Media contact
Southwark Council
Florence Igbokwe – Media Officer
Tel: 0207 525 0382
Email: [email protected]
Veolia Environnement
Caroline Rams – External Communications Manager
Tel: 020 7812 5038
Email: [email protected]
Facts and figures
South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) – District heating system
The pioneering scheme promises to deliver long term energy cost savings to residents and presents a viable alternative to traditional gas fired boilers. The scheme will run for 20 years, after which Southwark Council will decide whether to retain the scheme or revert back to the traditional supply of gas.
It will also mean that some of the waste generated by the residents who will benefit from this scheme will actually be used to provide the heating and hot water for their own homes as it will be used by SELCHP to generate the hot water used in the district heating network.  When the project completes in December the boiler systems on the five estates in the borough will be switched off and will only be used as a back up system in times of routine maintenance or repair.
Where exactly is this scheme being carried out?
The scheme will be rolled out to residents living on New Place Estate (Four Squares), Keentons Estate, Rouel Road Estate, Slippers Place, Abbeyfield, Pedworth Estate, Silverlock Estate, Tissington, and Silwood Estate.
How much is this costing the council?
Primarily the new heat network capital costs will be met by Veolia and CNIM. It’s a £7 million investment - £5m invested by Veolia into a pipe network and boiler house modifications and £2m by SELCHP Ltd into plant related investments at SELCHP. There is no capital cost to the council or to the leaseholders.
What are the benefits of this scheme?
Energy from waste Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is an efficient means of energy generation and use, reducing environmental impacts, in particular CO2 and nitrous oxides emissions, recovering useful energy from waste that would otherwise be sent to land fill sites and reducing local pollution.

Has this scheme be rolled out elsewhere?
This is the first time that a district heating network of this kind has been set up in London. Outside of the capital Veolia runs a similar scheme in Sheffield and Coventry.
Will this scheme be extended to elsewhere in the borough?
This is definitely a consideration. Southwark Council and Veolia Environnement have no concrete plans set out yet but the hope would be to extend the scheme to neighbouring estates.