Kirklees Council’s plans to build its own power plant in Huddersfield have taken a big step forward after a major funding boost.

The council has been awarded over £8 million for the Huddersfield District Energy Network which could supply lower cost energy to heat buildings in Huddersfield town centre.

The cash is coming from the Government’s three-year £288 million Green Heat Network Fund. The scheme aims to develop and grow the heat network market and address some of the challenges of decarbonising the UK’s heat sector.

The council has previously benefitted from funding for the various stages of the project, including £300k for the delivery of the outline business case from the BEIS Heat Network Delivery Unit who have since shown their written support of the scheme to progress to the next stage.

This most recent grant funding, a total of £8.2m, includes an initial £1m for commercialisation and a subsequent £7.2m for construction of the network subject to successful completion and approval of the commercialisation stage.

Commercialisation includes the final technical design work, its construction and operation and proposed customers.

The plan involves taking heat generated by burning waste at the incinerator in Diamond Street at Hillhouse (above) and piping it – via an Energy Centre to be built in Leeds Road – to heat public and private sector buildings in the town centre.

The heat network is expected to deliver 7.6GWh of low carbon heat in its first year, rising to 14.2GWh and 21.7GWh in its second and third years respectively.

The network will go towards helping the council achieve its ambitious target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038 – a target set when they declared a Climate Emergency in 2019.

The network is being built so that it can be expanded and could supply homes with lower cost energy in the future.

Clr Naheed Mather, Cabinet member for the environment, said: “District Energy Networks, also known as Heat Networks, are widely recognised as one of the most effective ways of decarbonising the local heat supply in built-up urban areas.

“We recognise the challenges of a changing climate facing the district and are making changes and have set targets of becoming net zero and ‘climate ready’ by 2038 for the benefit of Kirklees residents, its wildlife, landscape and biodiversity.”

Clr Will Simpson, Cabinet member for culture and greener Kirklees, said: “The scale of the Huddersfield District Energy Network would contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of Huddersfield town centre and our 2038 targets.

“It will also provide the town with greater energy resilience and control over the local heat supply along with the potential for future expansion.”

Officers will now start developing the full business case. Once completed, this will go to Cabinet and the Green Heat Network Fund for approval.