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Agenda item



The Committee had before it a report by the Director of Housing and Environment which proposed that the existing oil and gas heating systems at Duthie Park Winter Gardens be replaced with a biomass system, and, to include the use of surplus wood from the Council’s local parks, in the biomass fuel supply contract with a view to developing in the future a wood fuel production base in Aberdeen, as an income generating project, managed by the Council Arboricultural Service.


The report provided an overview of the current heating system for the Duthie Park Winter Gardens, and outlined the findings and recommendations of a detailed Feasibility Study regarding the potential installation of a biomass system which was carried out in November, 2009 by David Palmer of The Campbell Palmer Partnership Ltd, an acknowledged expert in the biomass field, and was arranged and funded by The Carbon Trust.  The executive summary of the study was attached as appendix 1 to the report.  The study had concluded that technically there were no constraints on changing the heating system to biomass.


With regards financial implications it was advised that the estimated total capital cost would be £423,000, with estimated annual savings on running costs of £65,090.  It was recommended that the capital costs be covered through a combination of grant, expected to be around £126,700, a non housing capital contribution of £125,000 from the Council, plus funding from the Central Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) of the balance which would be expected to be around £171,300.  The savings would be repaid to the CEEF over the first 3 years, after which the savings would accrue to the Council. Further details regarding the loan fund provided by the Central Energy Efficiency Fund were provided. 


Details of the actions which would be taken if the recommendations were approved were provided wherein it was advised that officers would apply for grant funding, with an initial application to the Community and Renewable Energy Scotland (CARES) scheme; with the fall back position of applying to the Scottish Biomass Support Grant or a Low Carbon Buildings Fund.  In addition officers would also issue tenders for the supply and installation of the biomass boiler; the necessary works to link the two exiting heat circuits into one; the required changes and additions to the control systems; the supply and installation of the biomass store; and the supply of woodchip for a five year period, with performance reviews built in to enable the contract to be ended earlier if performance standards were not met.


Finally, in relation to the inclusion of the use of surplus wood from the Council’s local parks, it was proposed that the Council use its purchasing power to enter into a contract with a biomass supplier for Duthie Park to ensure the surplus woody material from the Council’s parks is fed into the biomass supply chain. This would involve the successful biomass supply company agreeing to buy this surplus woody material from the Council, chip it within a location in Aberdeen such as the Hazlehead Nursery, and sell it locally, potentially as part of their supply to Duthie Park.  It was further proposed that this could be built up to become an income generating scheme, managed by the Council’s Arboricultural Service. A separate report on this proposed development of a woodfuel production base in the city would be submitted to this Committee for consideration at a later date.


The report recommended:-

that the Committee -

(a)       approve a tender to be issued for the installation of a biomass heating system at Duthie Park Winter Gardens at an estimated capital cost of £423,000, based on the recommendations in the Feasibility Report, subject to the full capital funding having been secured;

(b)       instruct the Director of Housing and Environment Services to arrange for the preparation of a non housing capital bid for £125,000 in respect of the biomass heating system;

(c)        to instruct the Director of Housing and Environment Services to submit the aforesaid non housing capital bid to the next appropriate meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee with a recommendation that they approve said bid; and

(d)       approve a tender being issued for the supply of biomass fuel at an estimated annual cost of £58,340, subject to the full capital funding having been secured for the biomass heating system, and to include in the tender a requirement that surplus wood from the Council’s parks would be purchased by the successful company for inclusion in the biomass supply chain.


The Committee then heard from the Convener who advised that since publication of the above report, the Council at its meeting on 11 February, 2010, had agreed its budget for 2010/2011, within which the funding of £125,000 for the biomass heating system had been approved, therefore recommendations (b) and (c) within the report had been superseded and could be removed from consideration.   For clarity she confirmed that recommendations (a) and (d) only were to be considered by the Committee.


The Committee resolved:-

to approve recommendations (a) and (d).

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