Highland Council is saving over £400,000 in fuel costs and around 5000 tonnes in carbon emissions per annum since HWEnergy took on its biomass heat supply contract just over a year ago.
As part of its new Carbon Clever initiative, the local authority commissioned HWEnergy to manage 68 biomass sites last July in a four year deal worth £1.2 million.
So far, the contract has not only achieved massive savings against fuel costs, it has made a saving of nearly 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum– the equivalent of taking 2,500 cars off the road, helping the council achieve its carbon reduction targets. The biomass systems also attract income from the Renewable Heat Incentive.
The boilers are based at a range of Highland Council properties including schools, care centres, offices and service points and are located throughout the entire Highland region from Thurso in the north to Lochaline in the south, encompassing an area larger than Wales.
Plans are in place for a further three biomass systems to be installed during the current financial year.
Highland Council introduced its first biomass boiler in 2004 and was the first council to implement Scotland’s public sector procurement framework for biomass. In 2013 it took the opportunity to consolidate the services and maintenance of a wide range of different boiler equipment installed by a host of contractors over the past decade into a single contract which was awarded to Lochaber based HWEnergy.
HWEnergy provides a fully comprehensive Heat Supply service for all sites, taking care of all servicing, maintenance and fuel supply with guaranteed response times and performance guarantees. In spite of the challenge inherent in taking over multiple legacy systems from multiple contractors the company has achieved a boiler availability time of 98%.
Council leader Councillor Drew Hendry commented: “Highland Council has ambitious targets to reduce its carbon emissions and we launched our Carbon Clever Highlands initiative to reflect this. Our target is to achieve a carbon neutral Inverness in a low carbon Highlands by 2025.
“Awarding the contract to HWEnergy to service, maintain and provide heat across all of our biomass sites has proven extremely successful and is making a significant contribution to helping us achieve our goals.
We are seeing a 98 per cent boiler availability time, we are saving 5000 tonnes of CO2 per annum and we’re making cost savings in the region of £400,000 a year. That’s a huge achievement all round and when we factor in RHI payments, it is transformational. These biomass systems are helping us reduce fuel bills, which in turn is helping us to protect vital services.”
HWEnergy MD Bruno Berardelli said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Highland Council to deliver the successful results from biomass heating systems. There are challenges, given the range of the equipment installed and the geography involved. Although we did not install the vast majority of these systems we are responsible for their operation including fuel and reactive and planned maintenance. Overall we are very pleased with performance, with 98% availability provided through the biomass systems, though we are still aiming for improvement.
In a time of budget constraints, savings in heating bills and additional income from the Renewable Heat Incentive is extremely beneficial. Also with jobs created in service and fuel provision the benefits to the local economy are far reaching. “
In a report to the Council’s Resources Committee in November chief engineer Eddie Boyd said “The biomass systems have generally shown to be reliable and effective over the year and the managed heat provision has been a factor in achieving this. “