In this instance, the excess heat that will be used to warm the buildings will come from a large data centre in the area being run by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
District heating is common in many large cities in Europe, where waste heat from local industry, power stations or incinerators is used to heat other premises. The option is availed of in very few instances in Ireland, although the programme for Government commits to scaling up its deployment.
South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has established Ireland’s first publicly owned not-for-profit energy company – Heatworks – with the support of AWS and the Finnish-owned energy company Fortum eNext to provide low-carbon heat to local buildings.
It will operate the Tallaght District Heating Network, which when completed is predicted to reduce carbon emissions in the local authority’s area by nearly 1,500 tonnes per year.
The network will use excess heat from the recently completed data centre to provide low-carbon heat to a mix of public sector, residential and commercial customers. AWS is providing recycled heat free of charge under its broader sustainability commitments.