Energy giant plans to double city heating network

Large black and orange factory with a chimney and several pipes
The Lower Don Valley district heating scheme is powered by E.ON’s eye-catching orange-clad Blackburn Meadows renewable energy plant [Oli Constable]

Energy giant E.ON has announced plans for a multimillion-pound investment to double the size of its district heating network in Sheffield.

It currently has a five-mile (8km) pipe network in the Don Valley and plans to introduce a further six miles (10km) of pipeline in the same area to connect new customers and potentially tap new sources of low carbon heating.

The district heating scheme is currently powered by E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows renewable energy plant which uses biomass to provide a source of heating to connected buildings in the Lower Don Valley.

Chris Lovatt, Chief Operating Officer for E.ON’s Energy Infrastructure Solutions business, said: “We need to find new, cleaner ways of heating our homes and businesses.”

'Bold steps'

Heating networks are considered a more efficient and cost-effective way of providing heat to built-up areas by producing and distributing heat from a central source instead of individual boilers in each property.

They currently provide 3% of the heat demand in the UK, with that number potentially growing to 20% nationwide by 2050 to support the move towards net zero.

As part of its expansion plans E.ON intends to create more than 2,000 green jobs in the region.

Mr Lovatt said: “With Sheffield’s bold steps to become a zero-carbon city by 2050 we’re looking to expand the route of our district heat network to play a role in that ambition.”

A formal planning application could be submitted to Sheffield City Council towards the end of summer, with E.ON launching a consultation programme and events for local residents in the coming weeks.

If planning consent is granted, construction would begin towards the end of 2025 and continue until the end of 2028.

More on this story;