Vattenfall and Ameresco to develop extensive low and zero-carbon heat network in the City of Bristol

Vattenfall and Ameresco, a leading American energy services company, have been selected as partners in the Bristol City Leap project, a 20-year concession to decarbonise the city and attract GBP 1 billion (approx. EUR 1.2 billion) of investment.

“We are very honoured to have been selected together with Ameresco to help the City of Bristol to decarbonise and reach its carbon neutrality goals. This is completely in line with Vattenfall’s goal to enable fossil free living within one generation,” says Ulrika Jardfelt, Head of Vattenfall Business Area Heat.

The City Leap program is designed to enable Bristol to experience lower energy costs, cleaner air, improved energy infrastructure and a boost to the local economy through the city-wide decarbonisation effort. The project will span the 34 ward areas that make up the City of Bristol. Services will address all sectors of the built environment, including public sector facilities like hospitals, universities, and schools, as well as industrial, commercial and residential buildings throughout the Bristol community.

“Our team is thrilled to be a part of such an incredible initiative taken by the City of Bristol that will hopefully open the eyes of neighbouring areas to the possibilities that exist within city-wide decarbonisation projects,” said Britta MacIntosh, Senior Vice President of Ameresco. “The announcement of the Bristol City Leap project is the first time that a UK city has embarked on such a comprehensive, transformative plan to decarbonise an entire city’s energy system by 2030. We applaud their leadership, innovation and steadfast focus on this plan.”

In partnership with Vattenfall, Ameresco will work with energy groups, city stakeholders and local Bristol businesses to install a full range of technologies aimed at optimising city-wide electrical infrastructure. Over the first five years of the partnership, the project is expected to deliver GBP 424 million in low-carbon energy infrastructure across heat networks, renewable energy, heat pumps, energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging, 140,000 tonnes of carbon savings, and 182 MW of zero-carbon energy generation.

The 20-year concession will see Vattenfall Heat UK acquire existing heat network assets already built by Bristol City Council and build new networks which will serve the equivalent of around 90,000 homes in the city. In the first five years, Vattenfall expects to invest over GBP 200 million in the heat networks, providing enough heat for the equivalent of 25,000 homes and serving domestic and non-domestic customers in new and existing buildings.

Mike Reynolds, Managing Director of Vattenfall Heat UK said, “We are very excited to be able to build upon the strong foundations established by Bristol City Council in getting the first district heating networks installed in Bristol. We have big plans to roll out the heat network quickly and at scale to serve the people of Bristol with reliable, affordable low carbon heat. Our partnership with Ameresco means we are able to apply the right technology in the right area of the city—bringing district heating to where it is best suited, as well as individual heat pumps where they are more cost-effective.”

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Finance, Governance and Performance said: “City Leap means large investment in Bristol’s energy systems and our ambitious carbon targets. We are creating a long-term partnership on a scale that will bring investment into the much-needed decarbonisation of our energy system.”

“City Leap will have a real impact for Bristol residents including the way people move around the city and the ways that we power and heat our homes. It will help us to move much more quickly towards carbon neutrality, creating a cleaner, greener and healthier city that is truly fit for the future. With City Leap, Bristol will become a focal point for new low carbon technologies and smart energy systems whilst creating thousands of jobs and ensuring a just transition. I’m pleased to see a potential partner that shares our vision for a better, zero-carbon Bristol.”

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