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Delivering a Next Generation Energy Centre in Scotland

Working in partnership with Dundee City Council

Dundee City Council’s District Heating Strategy provides a clear vision of a decarbonised future. To that end, they partnered with ESB’s Smart Energy Services to install a next generation 3.5 MW Low Carbon District Heating Energy Centre at Caird Park in Dundee.


The Ask

Becoming an energy partner that can support Dundee on its transition from a traditional fossil fuel energy centre to Low-Carbon energy centres, the first of which consists of hybrid Ground Source Heat Pumps powered by a mix of renewables and combined heat and power (CHP).

The Challenge

The challenge with all district heating is to find an ’anchor load’ which provides enough demand to justify the initial energy centre and network installation which can then be expanded to supply neighbouring customers. The ‘anchor load’ for Caird Park is provided by the new Regional Performance Centre for Sport (RPCS).

“We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made with ESB's Smart Energy Services. The success of this project not only gives us hope for the future, but helps solidify Dundee’s reputation as a centre for sustainable innovation.”

- Rob Pedersen, Acting Head of Construction, Dundee City Council

The Solution

Heat pumps are powered by a mix of renewables and a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) engine. A solar array on the roof of the energy centre tops up the ground array during the summer months when heating demand is lower. Waste thermal energy from the CHP engine gets directed to the ground array improving the overall efficiency of the system.

The Technology

The Heat Pumps extract low grade energy from Scotland’s largest ground array consisting of 120 x 200m deep bore holes drilled into the rock below the velodrome and surrounding area. The low grade energy is then enhanced and uplifted to useable temperatures utilising the refrigeration cycle. This is then used in the district heating system. A Combined Heat and Power engine provides low cost electricity to power the heat pumps with the heat rejection being used in the system and excess used to re charge the bore hole array.

The Results

  • 25% reduction in carbon
  • First of many low carbon energy centres in Dundee's District Heating Master Plan
  • 2019 winner of the Carbon Reduction Award at the Scottish Renewable Awards
  • Alleviating the pressures of fuel poverty (phase two of the project)


ESB’s Smart Energy Services has already delivered projects for more than 300 large businesses across Ireland and the UK. Our customers includes Medite Smartply, the Dublin Airport Authority, ABP and Ardagh Glass amongst many others. We have a launched a €75m fund to help large energy users decarbonise while making energy cost savings.

We work in partnership with large energy users to deliver sustainable solutions that dramatically reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. 

Find out how your organisation can benefit from: 

• Unparalleled expertise in the energy sector 

• An international network of technology partners 

• Advanced energy monitoring and analytics 

• Project financing with no up-front investment required

• Innovative energy saving technologies

Our €75 million Smart Energy Services Fund is available to help large energy users. Talk to us today.