Minister Eamon Ryan officially opens Tallaght District Heating Network and Energy Centre

by Gazette Reporter
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Minister for the Environment, Climate & Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD and the Mayor of South Dublin County, Councillor Emma Murphy, officially opened South Dublin County Council’s (SDCC) Tallaght District Heating Network at the Heatworks Energy Centre in Tallaght. 

Trading as Heatworks, Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company, is now providing low-carbon heat to public buildings in the area. The development of this innovative, low-carbon initiative has been led by SDCC with the assistance of its energy agency, Codema. 

The network initially will provide heat to 32,800m2 of public buildings. Customers of Heatworks include SDCC and Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin). Buildings heated by this project include County Hall, Tallaght County Library, the SDCC Innovation Centre- Work IQ, and 133 affordable apartments, which will connect in early 2025. The university buildings include the Main Building, the Sports-Science, Health and Recreation Building, followed by the new Catering College (CAET), to be completed in 2024. 

The network uses excess heat from Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) data centre to provide low carbon heat to the network customers.  AWS has included heat-collection systems in their new facility which provides this recycled heat at no cost as part of its broader sustainability commitments. HeatWorks will assist  Ireland in meeting its EU 2030 national heating and carbon-reduction targets. [TP1] It is estimated that in this first phase of delivery, the carbon emissions reduction in the Tallaght area will be over 1,500 tonnes per year.

Heatworks contracted Fortum, a large Finnish energy company with extensive district-heating experience throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, to carry out the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Tallaght District Heating Network.  

South Dublin County Council initiated this pilot project, to exemplify the environmental value and potential of District Heating in Ireland. The collaboration between SDCC, AWS engineering teams, Fortum, and the Dublin energy agency Codema has resulted in a low-carbon solution, optimising the potential of recyclable heat combined with innovative heat-pump technology – the first example of its kind in Ireland. 

The Tallaght District Heating Network was partly funded by the European Union’s Interreg    NWE programme (Heatnet), Project Ireland 2040 Climate Action Fund, SEAI and through direct funding from SDCC. In the Governments Climate Action Plan 2023, the increased ambition is that Ireland will reach up to 0.8 TWh of district heating by 2025 and up to 2.7 TWh by 2030.

Speaking at the Official Opening, Minister Ryan said; “This is a leading example of how energy that would be otherwise be wasted is now being used to heat local public buildings, a university and people’s homes, and I know that there are plans to go beyond this in time. It’s also a working demonstration of smart private-public partnership and an indication of the transformative role that district heating can play in our new more energy efficient and decarbonised energy mix. In our Climate Action Plan 2023, we have set out our increased ambition for district heating. I anticipate that our district heating steering group will shortly publish its recommendations on how we can reach these targets, led by our local authorities and facilitated with private sector involvement as is the case here in Tallaght.”

Councillor Emma Murphy, Mayor of South Dublin County Council said; “It gives me great pleasure to be here for the official opening of such an innovative project in South Dublin. Through the delivery of a project of this scale and ambition, South Dublin County Council are truly leading the way when it comes to climate change innovation and sustainability in Ireland, which citizens in the county can be incredibly proud of. We look forward to seeing the next step come to fruition, when the district heating network will provide sustainable heating to new homes in the Tallaght area.”

Mike Beary, AWS Country Lead said: “AWS has been investing in Tallaght for 15 years now and we are proud to be a part of the community. We love the ambition and spirit of innovation that this first-in-the-nation project embodies. HeatWorks will benefit our neighbours for years to come and help the country meet its 2030 renewable energy targets.”

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