Shawfair Development

January 29, 2024

Vattenfall Heat UK and Midlothian Council have formed a Joint Venture, known as Midlothian Energy Limited (MEL), which aims to regenerate and decarbonise the Midlothian region by supplying low carbon heat through a district heating network, under construction in a former coal mining area. This is part of the Shawfair development.

FES Group was delighted to be selected as Principal Contractor for this project; to supply and construct the district heating network, energy centre and heat substations, which will revolutionise how heat is distributed to the Shawfair development. The initial phase of the network will supply around 3,000 homes, as well as education and retail properties at Shawfair Town. This will be powered by waste heat from the Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre (RERC) – an energy from waste plant operated by FCC Environment.

Low Carbon Technologies

Heat that would otherwise be wasted will be captured by MEL from Millerhill RERC and will be transported via a network of underground pipes to provide a low carbon source of heating and hot water for the properties at Shawfair.

The project is an excellent example of reclaiming and regenerating an area that was once a big contributor to climate change with coal production through the 19th and 20th centuries.

This initial phase of development is expected to save over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off the road.

Project Key Milestones To Date

In June 2023 the project entered its construction phase with the first pipes of the 4km network going into the ground.

The project had an official launch event in September 2023. To mark the occasion, a section of pipework was signed by various members of the project team before being laid in the ground.

October 2023 saw the structural steelwork being erected for the Energy Centre, marking another significant milestone in the development.

January 8th and 9th saw the largest plant items (prefabricated modules) being transported from our prefabrication facility in Stirling to the Energy Centre in Midlothian.

Last week saw the delivery and installation of three thermal storage vessels, each weighing 16 tonnes, which are part of the back-up system for storing hot water.

Project Innovation

The design of the Energy Centre itself is an innovative method developed by FES Group to ensure free floor access for future plant expansion. The secondary steelwork will support all the assets from the roof down, so there are no structural supporting beams throughout the Energy Centre.

James Reid, FES Energy Operations Director at FES Group comments:

“The Shawfair Development is the start of a new era for Midlothian. FES Group believes the use of waste heat from the Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre (RERC) and low carbon technologies in the MEL Energy Centre, will provide the catalyst for future generations to meet the challenge of net zero for Midlothian and the surrounding areas.

The project demonstrates that business models such as MEL can bring experienced private businesses and local authorities together, providing value to local communities and the inspiration for more low carbon infrastructure schemes throughout Scotland. We are delighted that MEL has chosen FES Group to be Principal Contractor for this regenerative journey of the area.”

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