Ireland's first publicly owned energy company formed for Tallaght heating network

By Mary Dennehy

SOUTH Dublin County Council has established Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company, which will provide low carbon heat to local buildings.

Called Heatworks, the company will deliver the Tallaght District Heating Network which, as reported on previously, will see excess heat from Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) data centre on the Belgard Road used to fuel the new heating network.

psSDCC Heatworks 2

AWS will provide recycled heat free-of-charge to the scheme.

The system, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in South Dublin County by nearly 1,500 tonnes per year, will initially heat 47,000msq of public sector buildings, 3,000msq of commerical space and 135 affordable apartments.

It will begin supplying heat before the end of 2021, with initial customers being South Dublin County Council and TU Dublin – Tallaght campus.

By 2024, the heat will be supplied to nearby developments recently approved with planning permission, including affordable housing units, residential properties and student accommodation.

In a statement issued by the council, the new district heating company has contacted Fortum, a large Finnish energy supply company with extensive experience in this arae to carry out the design, installation and operation of the Tallaght network.

The council believes that, the supply of low cost, low carbon heat is expected to increase commercial competiveness, “attracting more innovative businesses and developments to Tallaght town centre”.

The council also believes it will facilitate education programme and start-up opportunities in renewable energy solutions, alongside helping to “mitigate fuel poverty” as the network expands over time.

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.”

The project is a collaboration between South Dublin County Council, AWS engineering teams, Fortum eNext and the City of Dublin Energy Management Agency (CODEMA), with part funding coming from the European Union’s Inter-Reg NWE programme.

Funding was also provided through Project Ireland 2040 Climate Action Fund and through direct funding from South Dubling County Council.

Mike Beary, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Ireland country manager, said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting Ireland’s first district heating scheme, which will see the excess heat from our data centre being used to reduce carbon emissions in Tallaght over time.

“Our support for the district heating scheme demonstrates our continued commitment to building a more sustainable future for Ireland. We are pleased to participate in this unique project that will help the country meet its 2030 renewable energy targets.”

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