Stockport Homes: Biomass district heating

The Stockport Homes biomass district heating programme was implemented between 2013 and 2014, and comprises seven separate biomass schemes heating over 2,000 social rented high rise flats.  Stockport Homes purchase 6,000 tonnes of wood chips per year and developed the biomass programme as a wider remit of ECO funded works, including over-cladding and window replacement.

When taken together, the Stockport Homes programme is one of the UK’s largest biomass district heating schemes.

Our roles were to examine the performance and efficiency of the schemes, to resolve practical and contractual issues associated with the supply of wood fuel, and to examine opportunities for in-house wood fuel production and supply.

Hanover Tower Biomass District Heating
Concerns over the cost and procurement of biomass have been expressed politically and in the local media, so we have been benchmarking the seven schemes to UK-wide industry norms, and seeking ways to ensure the contracts that underpin the schemes meet best practices.  We used our experience of working for DECC on the UK wide performance and efficiency of biomass schemes to help inform this work.

The development of a wood fuel production depot with a capital cost of £1m is being seriously considered by Stockport Homes, who are an innovative client, always seeking ways to maximise how their activities can benefit their tenants and the local community.  An in-house wood fuel production facility using nearby urban and amenity woodlands as a source of wood fuel is certainly characteristic of this approach.  Under this part of our support contract, we developed a detailed business plan, evaluated the local availability of timber feedstocks and established the most cost-effective methods of storage, drying and chipping.