Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure (PIRI)

The PIRI concept includes using Peterborough’s energy recovery facility to supply a next-generation local heat network.

Lead Organisation

Peterborough City Council




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About the project

The project combines a heat network, private wire electricity network, and electric vehicle infrastructure in a holistic smart local energy system (SLES). It brings together electricity and heat output from a waste plant with storage and the supply of both electricity and heat.

PIRI unlocks efficiencies not deliverable under traditional energy system models, and serves as a blueprint for other cities.

What did the project achieve?

  • A technical specification for the heat and electricity private wire networks, supplied by an energy-from-waste plant owned by Peterborough County Council, and with additional heat from the River Nene delivered through water-source heat pumps.
  • A business proposition for delivery of the multi-vector heat and electricity system with a rate of return capable of attracting commercial investment.
  • A detailed learning review which has captured the knowledge generated through the PIRI process, to ensure that it is available for future smart local energy system projects.

Key lessons learnt

  1. Delivering a major infrastructure project involves overcoming a range of practical, contractual and commercial constraints which can have a significant impact on the overall design, investment and ownership models for the project.
  2. Designing the business model and ensuring that proposals are capable of delivering a viable return on investment represents a challenge which needs to inform, and be informed by, the technical design of the scheme itself.
  3. Ultimately, there is a viable business case for a significant scale multi-vector smart local energy system project in Peterborough which can reduce energy bills and support heat and electricity decarbonisation across 19 non-domestic customers in the city.

Next steps

  • The proposal is moving into the commercialisation phase. The outline business plan and delivery model are being further developed and considered by Peterborough City Council, with the objective of delivering Phase 1 and 2 of PIRI by 2025/26.
  • Peterborough has been awarded £14.5 million from the Green Heat Network Fund to develop a smart energy network, putting the PIRI concept into practice.

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