In 2014, North Ayrshire Council embarked upon an ambitious biomass heat roll-out programme to replace outdated and inefficient oil, gas and coal-fired heating systems. The project is a fantastic example of how the Public Sector in Scotland can lead the transition to a low carbon heat sector and shows how carbon and sustainability savings can be delivered affordably.
HWEnergy were selected by North Ayrshire Council as the partner for the project and took responsibility for the full project rollout. This includes the design of the solutions, securing all planning permissions, the installation of the biomass systems and integration with the existing heating systems and the commissioning of the boilers.
The biomass boilers have been incorporated in a range of predominantly school buildings including, including replacing coal-fired boilers at Skelmorlie Primary School and Kilwinning Academy. The boilers installed deliver more than 3MW of installed capacity and range in size from a 90kW boiler at Lamlash Primary School to a 1MW system at Irvine Royal Academy. The first phase of the biomass rollout has covered 12 sites including 2 on the Island of Arran. All 12 sites are now up and running and delivering cost and carbon savings.
“We need to invest in the future by being sustainable in our energy consumption. By making the switch to biomass heat we are supporting the local economy, reducing our carbon emissions and saving money against previous heat sources. It is particularly heartening to see that Skelmorlie Primary School and Kilwinning Academy are no longer reliant on coal for their heat.”
Craig Hatton, Executive Director (Place), North Ayrshire Council
Biomass boiler sizes ranging from 90kW to 1MW installed in pre-packaged Biomass Heat Cabins or within existing buildings
Phase 1 of the biomass rollout programme has been so successful that an additional 3 sites are currently being converted to biomass heat bringing the total number of buildings heated by biomass up to 15 and more than 4.5MW of installed heat capacity.
The move to biomass heating across the 15 sites will save the Council some 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per annum (the equivalent of more than 9 million car miles), and attract significant financial cost savings linked to Renewable Heat Incentive Payments. The RHI will be in the region of £350,000 per annum across all properties, which together with other running cost savings means overall payback for the new systems is expected within eight years.
Until at least 2021 HWEnergy will fully manage the systems, providing heat to the Council for a fixed price per kWh. This includes all biomass fuel, servicing, emergency responses and parts replacements. The performance of the biomass systems is guaranteed under the contract which limits the risk to the Council and secures the financial savings.
North Ayrshire Council’s biomass roll-out with HWEnergy, together with their solar and car share programme received the "Sustainable Scotland" award at the prestigious Scottish Green Energy Awards 2016. The Sustainable Scotland award category recognised "the outstanding deployment of renewable energy in a non-energy business, charity or public body to cut costs or carbon – or both."
Click here to view the full list of award categories and winners.