PIRI project moves a step closer

16 October 2023

An innovative infrastructure project, which will deliver low carbon heat and electrical power to key businesses and public buildings in Peterborough, has moved a step closer to construction.

Peterborough City Council cabinet members today approved a delivery route for the PIRI project, as well as agreeing to the commencement of a process to procure of a partner who will contribute to the scheme’s full business case.

The initial phase of the PIRI project will transport heat and electrical power from the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) operated by Viridor in Fengate (owned by Peterborough City Council) direct to buildings via a series of underground pipes and cables. The ERF generates its own energy by taking non-recyclable household waste that would otherwise go into landfill and using a combustion process turns it into heat and electricity.

The council will now to take the necessary steps to procure a partner and establish a proposed commercial structure of the project, including producing a full business case, with a view to starting construction in winter 2024.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “This is another step forward in this exciting project which will help Peterborough become one of the first carbon-zero cities of the future. We are ready for a project of this size and I’m looking forward to seeing the scheme continue to develop over the coming months.”

PIRI will be delivered in an initial two phases. Phase one will create the underground pipework and cables needed to deliver heat and power to key businesses in the Fengate area which is closest to the ERF. Phase two will deliver heat to key businesses and public buildings in the city centre.

It’s anticipated that once complete, the PIRI project will reduce the carbon consumption of these buildings by as much as 92-per-cent. This will play a big role in assisting Peterborough to reduce emissions down to net-zero.

A total of £14.5million of funding was recently approved by the Government to turn the project into a reality. Of this, just over £900,000 will pay for further project work to prove the effectiveness of the scheme in order to secure external investment. A further £13.5million has been pledged to help pay for the construction costs.

Once the project is complete, it could be expanded at a later date, to other businesses across Peterborough.

For more information, you can read the agenda from today’s Cabinet meeting here.