Sutton Council launches its low-carbon energy company for South London

 The Felnex development, artist's impression.

A Computer Generated Image of how the Felnex development will look.

Sutton Council is launching its own energy supply company that will use waste heat to provide low-carbon energy to thousands of homes and businesses across south London.

The  is calling on developers in Sutton, Merton and Croydon to join the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) which has the potential to provide sustainable heating and hot water to 19,000 homes at no greater cost than a conventional boiler.

Energy generated by the new Energy Recovery Facility and from the existing landfill in Beddington will provide low-carbon heating through a network of pipes that will serve developments, eliminating the need for households and businesses to have boilers. The project also has the potential to harness energy from other businesses, which is currently wasted.

Sutton is already in negotiations to sign up its first partner to join the network. Barratt Homes are developer for the Felnex site in Beddington, Sutton, which will contain 725 homes and a supermarket, both of which will be connected to the SDEN. That will save 900 tonnes of CO2 emissions with future phases expected to increase this to over 5,000 tonnes.

The council is setting up the SDEN to help reduce the borough’s carbon footprint as the UK’s first One Planet Borough – a status which means the council has made series of environmental commitments.

It will also invest profits back into public services to benefit Sutton residents, for example they could be used in measures to reduce fuel poverty.

The plans are backed by the Government and the Greater London Authority. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has also cited SDEN as a leading example of best practice.

Cllr Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“Sutton has long been committed to environmental sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. We are now pushing the boundaries further by setting up the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network. The SDEN will offer developers in South London a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels for the provision of heat and hot water. There are lots of potential benefits including lower construction costs, lower green taxes, better resilience, no ongoing plant maintenance and increased lettable floor space. For Sutton, the SDEN will help to reduce our carbon footprint and any profits we make will be invested back into public services for our residents and businesses. At a time when our council budgets are being severely cut by the Government, it is projects like the SDEN can help local authorities to bring in much needed revenue while also creating a low-carbon borough.”

James Dunne, Operations Director at Barratt Homes, said: 

“The SDEN offers developers the chance to connect to a low-carbon energy supply when building new homes. Barratt already has a proven record in district heating. It is straightforward to build the infrastructure, significantly reduces emissions and it counters the rising price of fossil fuels over the long term. We are looking forward to working with the SDEN to supply our 725 home development in Sutton with low-carbon energy.”

How SDEN works

The council will be laying a network of highly insulated steel pipes to deliver hot water to our customers.

The amount of heat energy taken from our network is controlled by users – exactly the same as a heating or hot water system fed from a boiler located in a building.

Inside the property, the method used to deliver heating can remain the same, such as radiators and underfloor heating

Benefits can include:

  • Reduction in construction costs
  • Increased lettable floor area in developments due to reduced plant space
  • Enables developers to meet planning regulations more easily and cheaply
  • Reduced exposure to green/carbon taxes and levies
  • Avoids ongoing heating plant maintenance, servicing and replacement
  • Better resilience than conventional heat supplies
  • Participation in a scheme that will deliver significant carbon savings to South London
  • Profits can be reinvested in public services in Sutton

Developers interested in finding out more about the network should call Sutton Council on 020 8770 5918  or email opportunitysutton@sutton.gov.uk