With all the systems now online, the sites are already benefitting from reduced heating costs whilst the Council is taking advantage of an additional income stream from the government’s RHI scheme.

Offering a combined annual saving of more than £30,000 on the authority’s energy bill, the nine new biomass boilers will also generate a yearly income of £150,000 from the RHI, or £3,000,000 over the 20-year life of the scheme. This means that the boilers will pay for themselves three times over during their lifespan and reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 10,400 tonnes.

Phase one of the project comprised the installation of five innovative, stand-alone Heat Pods incorporating four 199kW and one 150kW Herz Firematic boilers, into locations such as Buckinghamshire County Museum and Green Park, a management training centre. Heat Pods are a compact, prefabricated ‘all-in-one’ structure, housing a plant room and fuel store, making them perfect for installation on sites where there is no room for a new boiler system within the existing building. Phase two of the project has seen the retrofit of three 100kW and one 150kW Herz Firematic boilers into existing plant rooms in a number of schools throughout the county.

Rural Energy was awarded the contract as part of the council’s framework for biomass, which is open to all qualifying public sector bodies within Buckinghamshire as well as members of the Central Buying Consortium (CBC). The framework simplifies the procurement process by providing access to a proven specification model and a quality-checked list of approved suppliers. Working alongside energy consultants from Jacobs UK Ltd, Rural Energy was appointed as main contractor for the project thanks to its extensive industry experience, quality product offering and the reliable technical support it can provide on a local level.

Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning at Buckinghamshire County Council, commented: “This project takes a sensible long-term view, combining responsible energy consumption and supporting British sources of energy. We’re saving on heating costs and generating an income for the county, which is good news for our residents.”

As the main contractor, Rural Energy has been responsible for designing the new biomass systems, as well as the supply, delivery and installation of the boilers and Heat Pods. Now that all the boilers are installed and commissioned, Rural Energy have also taken up a four-year service and maintenance contract to ensure the smooth running of the new systems, with an extension review at the end of this contracted period. This is in addition to two more service contracts Rural Energy has secured with the council, relating to existing Herz heating systems installed five years ago.

Paul Clark, Managing Director at Rural Energy, said: “This has been a great project for us to work on and we are thrilled that the final commissioning works have now been completed. Biomass energy offers impressive carbon and financial savings to public sector bodies, but with time constraints and budget pressures, navigating the procurement process can be off-putting for many organisations.

“Being part of the council’s biomass framework means that applicable organisations in the Bucks area will now be able to access biomass energy much more easily – without the complicated quality control checks that come with a normal tender process.”