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District heating energy centre gets the go-ahead

A district heating network using renewable energy will be used in the development of a new community and a 100-acre business park in Devon.

The heating network will serve both the community of Cranbrook and the £120-million Skypark
development near Exeter airport, significantly reducing CO2 emissions across both developments.

A combination of £3.7 million grant funding from the HCA’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund, together with further contributions of £400,000 from local authority partners and significant investment from E.ON, St Modwen and Cranbrook’s developers, has successfully bridged the funding gap enabling this scheme to go ahead.

Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Chairman and East Devon District Councillor Ray Franklin said: “What we are actually doing is rewriting the blueprint for how developments are built and how energy can be supplied. We will be one of the first local authorities in the country to build a mass open market development with district heating from day one.”

A biomass district heating scheme for the first 2,900 homes at Cranbrook could provide an
estimated, 10,000 tonnes of C02 savings a year.

Cllr Franklin continued: “We will not only be reducing carbon emissions, but reducing energy bills for the people who are going to live and work in these buildings. The potential benefits for the environment and for the residents are clear. It’s such good news for the future residents of this area.”

Further good news came with the announcement from East Devon District Council that it had
approved planning permission for the schemes’ energy centre, which is to be built on the site of the Skypark development near Exeter Airport.

Regeneration firm St Modwen is a joint venture partner with Skypark. Senior development
manager Ian Guy said: “The energy centre facility fully supports our plans to make Skypark a sustainable employment hub to serve Exeter and Devon’s economy, creating up to 6,500 jobs locally.”