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Solihull showing the way forward on low carbon plans


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Plans to bring affordable low carbon energy to Solihull town centre got a huge boost last night with planning approval for a new Low Carbon Energy Centre.

The Energy Centre, sited next to Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, will house a range of renewable and low carbon energy solutions, including Air Source Heat Pumps and Gas Combined Heat and Power. These will provide heat and power to nearby public and private sector customers, including Council owned buildings, education campuses and commercial offices.

The striking designs, which were first shared earlier in the year as part of a pre-application public consultation, will help to promote the renewable and low carbon technology being used. Proposals also include plans to install a footpath adjacent to the Energy Centre, which will allow passers-by to see how the energy centre is performing and improve access to the park.

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning & Housing, said: “The Energy Centre will be the beating heart of our network and represents an exciting opportunity to offer town centre customers an efficient and affordable alternative energy source while delivering significant carbon savings.

“We know from our emerging Net Zero Action Plan that 56% of Solihull’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy we use in our buildings. We must make rapid progress in addressing this if we are going to achieve our regional net-zero carbon emission target by 2041.”

So far, funding for this carbon saving scheme has been provided by the government’s Heat Networks Investment Programme (HNIP) and the West Midlands Combined Authority. The project demonstrates the Council’s commitment to using innovative renewable energy solutions by investing in low carbon heat and power. It also forms part of a broader strategic approach Solihull Council is developing to help decarbonise the borough over the next twenty years.

Cllr Mackiewicz added, “We need to see more tangible, real-world solutions like this being taken forward. It shows the residents of Solihull how serious we are about taking the lead on this by backing up our ambitious policy with on the ground actions.”

With planning permission now secured, the project can progress to the next stage. The Council is working with its partners to finalise a Full Business Case and appoint a final contractor to build, maintain and operate the network. 

First phase customers could be hooked up and start benefiting from the network from as early as Spring 2023.

Written by: David Watkins

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