Cranbrook - One of the UK's largest district heating schemes

Cranbrook Energy CentreEast Devon District Council have approved plans for an energy centre to be built near Exeter Airport on the site of the £120 million Skypark development. (Subject to a section 106 agreement).

Approval for the Energy Centre which will provide energy to both Skypark and Cranbrook came just days after the developers and the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point partners signed a £4.1 million public sector funding package.

The creation of this funding package began last year when the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) awarded the Growth Point funding from their Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund. During negotiations with the developers the level of the funding was agreed at £3.7 million.

Each of the Growth Point partners have also provided an additional £400,000 this includes Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and the South West RDA, raising the total to £4.1 million. This package will go towards the district heating pipe network linking the energy centre to the homes and offices.

This whole scheme will help ensure that CO² emissions are significantly reduced across both developments and help both Cranbrook and Skypark reach higher standards of sustainability in line with both government targets and the transition of the southwest to a low carbon economy.

Ian Guy Senior Development Manager for St Modwen, Skypark’s joint venture partner was delighted to hear that the application has been approved, he said  “The energy centre facility has been carefully designed and positioned on site in order to fit within the context of the wider area. It fully supports our plans to transform Skypark into a sustainable employment hub which will serve Exeter and Devon’s economy, creating up to 7,000 jobs locally.” The Energy Centre building itself will be innovative in its design and is set to achieve the highest standards of environmental ratings for buildings (Breeam Excellent standard).

Following approval for the scheme the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point can also confirm that the chosen energy supplier for the scheme is E.ON, one of the UK’s leading power and gas companies. E.ON’s commitment to the scheme includes a £20 million Energy Centre that will provide heat and power to residential and commercial properties via a local biomass Combined Heat and Power plant

Michael Woodhead From E.ON’s Sustainable Energy business said:“We’re delighted to come on board and support this scheme. To be involved in delivering a highly efficient Combined Heat and Power district heating project in a major new community like this gives us a great sense of pride. Schemes like these help us reduce our carbon emissions and can help cut customer bills. This scheme is just one of a number that we are delivering across the UK and is part of our commitment to change the way energy is created and used in the UK .

Growth Point Chairman and East Devon District Councillor Ray Franklin explains why this scheme, which has been described as an exemplar large scale CHP, is so ground breaking: 

“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, if not the first local authority to build a mass open market development with district heating from day one. We will not only be reducing carbon emissions, but reducing energy bills. The potential benefits for the environment and for the residents are clear. ”

This is a monumental step in the process of getting Cranbrook and Skypark off the ground. With the planning permission in place and the funding in the bank East Devon District Council also look set to reach higher levels of sustainability at Cranbrook, which may then qualify them for an enhanced Affordable Housing Grant form the HCA.