Latest on Bridgend town heat network plans

Members of Bridgend County Borough Council have received an update on how plans for phase one of the Bridgend Town Heat Network project are progressing.

Designed to use a gas-powered combined generator located within Bridgend Life Centre to deliver and share heat and electricity with the nearby Bowls Hall and Civic Offices, the plans have received more than £1m from UK Government for the construction of the network, along with a further £241,000 for pre-construction activities.

While contractors for the work have been selected, several new challenges have arisen due to inflation, increases in interest rates and increased costs for plant, labour and materials. As a result, council officers are discussing ways of reducing costs with contractors.

An outline business case has been created for phase two of the network, and the council is now looking at using a water source heat pump system. Installed within the Glanrhyd hospital boundary, this would capture heat from the Ogmore River, and use gas boilers as backup or to meet peak heat demand.

Around 20 buildings are included in the current design for the scheme, which incorporates both the Glanrhyd and Princess of Wales hospitals, South Wales Police Training Centre, Bridgend College and local schools.

Sites have been identified for a private wire-connected solar system along with options for using both sleeved or directly connected wind power and additional solar power.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr John Spanswick, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “It is intended that phase one of the work will be adopted into phase two, thereby replacing the gas generator with a zero carbon energy source.

“We have updated the financial modelling, both to account for inflationary-driven increases in construction costs and to use the most recent projections around energy prices and emissions. This has confirmed that despite this, the project is still financially viable.

“A  number of options were considered for the future development of both phases of the network. Our preferred option is to transfer delivery of  the phase one infrastructure into the phase two development, and to explore commercial opportunities for ownership, delivery, and operation by a third party.

“Potential delivery partners could include the Cardiff Capital Region, Welsh Government or private sector companies. These options are all currently being explored, and we will be reporting back on latest developments in due course.”