South Dublin County Council with support from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Fortum eNext create Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company

14 December 2020, 12:10 EET

Fortum eNext has been contracted to design, install and operate the network due to the company’s extensive experience with district heating throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

An aerial from the Tallaght town centre in Dublin, Ireland.

Photo: SDCC

South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has established Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company, to provide low carbon heat to local community buildings. Trading as Heatworks, the company will deliver the Tallaght District Heating Network, estimated when completed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the South Dublin County area by nearly 1,500 tonnes per year.

The network will use excess heat from a customisation to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) recently completed data centre to provide low carbon heat to public sector, residential and commercial customers. AWS will provide recycled heat free of charge to the scheme as part of its broader sustainability activities, and its continued assistance to Ireland in meeting its EU 2030 national heating and carbon-reduction targets. The district-heating company has contracted Fortum, a large Finnish energy supply company with extensive district-heating experience throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, to carry out the design, installation, and operation of the Tallaght network.

The system will initially heat 47,000 m2 of public sector buildings, 3,000m2 of commercial space, and 135 affordable rental apartments.

The supply of low-cost, low-carbon heat is expected to increase commercial competitiveness, attracting more innovative businesses and development to Tallaght town centre, facilitate educational programmes and start-up opportunities in renewable energy solutions, as well as helping to mitigate fuel poverty as the heat network expands over time.

The Tallaght District Heating Network is partly funded by the European Union's Inter-Reg NWE programme (Heatnet), a multi-million euro fund promoting carbon reduction through district-heating in Europe's north-west, by a further €4.5 million from the Project Ireland 2040 Climate Action Fund and through direct funding from SDCC.

The collaboration between SDCC, AWS engineering teams, Fortum eNext, and the City of Dublin Energy Management Agency (CODEMA) has resulted in a low-carbon solution optimising the potential of recyclable heat combined with additional heat-pump technology – the first example of its kind in Ireland.

The project will begin supplying heat before the end of 2021, with initial customers being SDCC and the nearby Tallaght campus of the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin). The council buildings heated by this project in the short term will include SDCC’s County Hall and Tallaght County Library followed by the Rua Red arts-hub and Civic Theatre.

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

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.”

“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,” said Mike Beary, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Ireland country manager. “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.”

“We are extremely proud that we were chosen to provide this low-carbon heat solution as part of an innovative project in a strongly competitive market,” said General Manager Kari Lahti from Fortum eNext, “Our know-how has been developed and tested during our 25-year-long presence in Ireland and the UK, where we have delivered power plants and long-term operation and maintenance services for different kinds of power plants and customers.”

Partners

South Dublin County Council is one of four local authority areas in the Dublin region. The Council provides and funds a broad range of services including housing, roads, walking and cycling routes, parks and playgrounds, libraries, sports facilities, litter control, art centres, enterprise units, fire services, community infrastructure and financial support. It also serves as a platform for local democracy with 40 councillors spread across seven electoral areas.

Bounded by the River Liffey to the North and the Dublin Mountains to the South, the County lies 16 kilometres south-west of Dublin city centre and has an administrative footprint of 223sq. kilometres. The County has nine main villages Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown, Rathfarnham, Tallaght, Templeogue, Saggart, Rathcoole and Newcastle and is bounded by the adjoining counties of Wicklow, Kildare, Dublin City, Fingal and Dún Laoghaire.

Fortum’s vision as a clean energy company is to work with partners in reshaping the energy system, improving resource efficiency and providing smart solutions for the future. District heating is an endemic feature of the city and town communities in Finland, Sweden and northern Europe, and Fortum is a major player in these energy systems. Fortum’s delivery will meet local heat demand with a low-carbon solution that is scalable for future heating demand and follows a modular design principle. Developing green solutions for cities’ district heating networks and electrifying customers’ processes aligns well with Fortum eNext’s strategy on decarbonisation.

Codema is Dublin’s Energy Agency and is committed to leading Dublin's low-carbon transition towards 2030 and 2050. We act as the energy adviser to the four local authorities in Dublin - Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council - and support each council in leading and influencing this low-carbon transition by improving their energy efficiency, incorporating renewable energy technologies and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.