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Islington's environment chief wants funding for Bunhill 3 to 'alleviate fuel poverty across borough'

PUBLISHED: 10:08 24 October 2019

Cllr Claudia Webbe outside the Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Claudia Webbe outside the Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Islington has the untapped heat to produce an "innovative" network of energy efficient power stations that tackle fuel poverty, says the council's environment and transport chief.

Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly HancockBunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Claudia Webbe took the Gazette for a tour of Bunhill Energy Centre in Central Street, which supplies power to more than 800 homes in the area, plus Finsbury Leisure Centre and Ironmonger Row Baths. It was funded by £4.2million in grants and generates electricity as well as heating water with the excess warmth that creates, which it transports through pipes into communal boilers. This district network is temporarily not operational, as it's being connected to Bunhill Energy Centre 2.

This venture between the council and Transport for London will pump heat from a ventilation shaft in the Northen line and use it to heat a further 1,000 homes at King's Square Estate from early next year.

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Cllr Webbe said: "I campaigned for this, so this is a pioneering achievement. It was important we prioritised tackling fuel poverty people were faced with, as well as the high cost of living." She said the council could use heat from the Regent's Canal and data centres to heat more homes and build "Bunhill 3" and beyond.

Islington council officers Rodrigo Matabuena and James Wilson at the Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly HancockIslington council officers Rodrigo Matabuena and James Wilson at the Bunhill Energy Centre on Central St. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Webbe added: "If we had the investment we could replicate this across the borough and benefit a lot more people because there is no reason people should be in fuel poverty.

"They simply cannot afford their bills and have to make a choice between heating and eating."

Cllr Webbe said it's "symbolic" Bunhill 1 was built on the site of an old car park, and that the neighbours were "initially up in arms" about its loss but now take pride in it. She added: "If you are going to achieve carbon reduction you have to innovate, and this was an example of innovation."

Bunhill 1 is more efficient than a normal power station where heat is a waste product. Its excess energy is sold into the national grid to cover its maintenance costs, and it has shaved 10 per cent off people's energy bills.

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