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Contract Awarded for Ireland’s First Large-Scale District Heating Scheme

15th December, 2020

  • Tallaght District Heating Scheme will be the first large-scale district heating network of its kind in Ireland
  • Will operate under the name ‘Heat Works’ as the country’s first not-for-profit energy utility, owned by South Dublin County Council
  • Will reduce carbon emissions in the area by almost 1,500 tonnes of CO2 each year
  • First scheme in Ireland and UK to use waste heat from a data centre
  • 100% fossil-free solution

Codema is delighted to announce that the contract has now been awarded to develop Ireland’s first large-scale district heating scheme, which will initially involve a number of South Dublin County Council’s buildings and the TU Dublin-Tallaght campus, and will connect other public, private and residential customers in the Tallaght area to the network in subsequent phases.

The contract was awarded by South Dublin County Council to Fortum eNext Ireland Ltd, with construction due to begin on Phase 1 of the network in early 2021.

The Tallaght District Heating Scheme is being led by South Dublin County Council with support from Codema. The scheme will also operate as Ireland’s first not-for-profit utility and will make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions in the area, saving almost 1,500 tonnes of CO2 each year and establishing Tallaght as a leader in innovation in the area of climate change.

District heating is a network of highly-insulated pipes that delivers low-carbon heat from a central energy source to provide space heating and hot water to the buildings connected to the network.  In the case of the Tallaght District Heating Scheme, this project will deliver a high level of innovation, as waste heat from the nearby Amazon data centre will supply the heat to the network.  During normal operation, heat demand will be 100% covered from the data centre waste heat.

The first phase of this project will connect existing and new local authority buildings and the TU Dublin-Tallaght campus to this local district heating network.  There is also potential for the new residential development at Belgard Gardens, which will be home to more than 3,000 people, to connect to the network at a later phase.  

Speaking after the contract was signed, CEO of Codema, Donna Gartland, said:

“This is a landmark for Ireland’s low-carbon heating sector. We are highly reliant on fossil fuels for heat, but we have the solutions to change this. For example, in Dublin we have enough waste heat and renewable heat sources to heat the equivalent of over one million homes.  This highlights the huge potential to roll out low-carbon district heating schemes across the region and I would like to congratulate South Dublin County Council and all parties involved on delivering the first of what will hopefully be many district heating projects to be delivered in the years to come.”

Daniel McLoughlin, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council said:

“The Tallaght district heating network shows how public-private collaboration using well-established district-heating technology can construct a system to recycle heat from an Amazon Web Services data centre to meaningfully contribute to helping Ireland achieve its 2030 sustainability targets. We believe the work we have done with Fortum eNext and Amazon Web Services to create this scheme can become a template for other districts across Ireland. We look forward to future collaborations as South Dublin County moves towards a low-carbon future.”

Philip Lee advised South Dublin County Council on the procurement of a design, build, operate and maintain contract for the development of the district heating system. Given the highly technical nature of the project, the form of contract required both technical and legal levels of expertise.  The Philip Lee Construction Team worked closely with both South Dublin County Council and Codema to document how the required heat is produced and delivered through the network, in order to produce a contract that would ultimately deliver for both the contracting authority and the end-users.

Hugh Cummins, Construction Partner at Philip Lee, said: “Philip Lee was delighted to work with South Dublin County Council and Codema on this novel, innovative and complex district heating project in Tallaght.  The construction of district heating projects such as this will increase energy efficiency, running costs and carbon emissions which are critical in the ongoing efforts to combat climate change."

South Dublin County Council will receive funding of almost €4.5 million for the Tallaght District Heating Scheme through the Government's Climate Action Fund, as well as support from the Interreg North-West Europe HeatNet NWE project and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

What is District Heating?

District heating systems use a central heat source and distribute this heat through super-insulated pipes to the customer. This makes district heating a convenient and sustainable way of heating buildings and water. District heating schemes are completely fuel-agnostic, meaning that many multiple heat sources can feed into the grid. This is good news for driving competitive heating costs, for security of supply, and importantly for low-carbon heat.

About the Tallaght District Heating Scheme

In the case of the Tallaght District Heating System, waste heat from the local Amazon data centre will be used to supply heat to new and existing South Dublin County Council buildings and the TU Dublin-Tallaght campus through this local district heating network. There is also potential for other customers, such as the new residential development at Belgard Gardens, to connect to the network at a later phase.  

What are the benefits of being connected to a district heating scheme?

  • Lower emissions and greater use of renewable energy
  • Hot water on demand 24/7 - very reliable system, no more worrying about leaving the immersion on!
  • No boiler in your home - more space, less maintenance
  • Improved air quality
  • Better Building Energy Ratings
  • Flexible system - future-proofed to provide heat from multiple renewable sources
  • Cost - The heat price will be competitive with alternative heating technologies, in order to ensure value for customers. Heat from district heating networks is typically cheaper than alternative heating methods so it is often used to alleviate fuel poverty. Heat Works, which is the not-for-profit utility that will be operated by South Dublin County Council, will be fully transparent with customers when it comes to heat prices and will publish these prices on the Heat Works website.

What is ‘waste heat’?

Waste heat is the heat energy (e.g. bi-product of industrial processes and data centres) that is not put to use and escapes into the atmosphere. By capturing or recycling this waste heat through a district heating system, it allows this waste heat to be used efficiently to heat the buildings connected to the system. In Dublin alone, there is enough waste heat and renewable heat sources to heat the equivalent of over one million homes.

Parties involved:

South Dublin County Council: Main lead - will own and manage the Tallaght District Heating Scheme through ‘Heat Works’, Ireland’s first not-for-profit energy utility
Codema: Energy adviser to South Dublin County Council, providing technical, procurement and project management assistance to the Tallaght District Heating Scheme and leading the HeatNet NWE project
Fortum eNext: Main Energy Service Company (ESCo). Responsible for the design, build, operation and maintenance of the energy center and heat network on behalf of Heat Works
Amazon Web Services: Supplier of low-grade waste heat to the heat network
TU Dublin-Tallaght: Main heat customer and member of the board of the Heat Works company
Philip Lee: Main legal adviser to the project, provided legal advice to SDCC during contract development and procurement