New public sector energy company announced for Devon

A pioneering new energy company, designed to deliver more efficient heat and power in Devon, has been announced. The innovative company, called Dextco, will develop ground-breaking sustainable projects to provide environmentally-friendly energy to homes and businesses across the city and its surrounding area.

The company -  whose founder members and shareholders comprise of  The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation  Trust (RD&E), the University of Exeter, Devon County Council, Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council – is the first specifically Exeter-based energy company in almost 70 years.

Building on recent success of Cranbrook and Skypark’s award winning district heating scheme, plans are already in place to undertake the first project associated with the new company in Exeter. A revolutionary new network will be financed and built, designed to transport heat generated at the RD&E’s Wonford Hospital to consumers across the city. Feasibility studies for the project, which would increase energy efficiency and reduce costs, have identified that the scheme is achievable.  

Future projects already earmarked include a high-level involvement in distributing heat from the Marsh Barton Energy Recovery Facility, in the south-west of the city.

These schemes are now looking to attract further funding available from central government through national initiatives encouraging the roll out of heat networks in the UK.

Over the coming months Dextco will lead the procurement of a private sector partner. If this process is successful it is anticipated that building work at RD&E could start in 2018.

The Hospital and the University value both the cost savings and carbon dioxide emission savings which will be achieved by connecting to the heat network.

Dave Tarbet, the RD&E’s Business Development Director said:

“The heat network will enable the Wonford site to generate most of the electricity it uses on site which will help cut our energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions providing more resource for patient care.”

Phil Attwell, Director of Campus Services at the University of Exeter said:

“We are delighted to be involved in this important partnership that will benefit the businesses and communities of Exeter. 

“The University has tough targets for reducing carbon emissions and the heat network will make an important contribution to meeting these goals.  But just as importantly, it has the potential to boost the low carbon energy provision across the city, which is vital for the environment, and consumers alike.”

Commenting on the launch, the Leader of Exeter City Council, Councillor Pete Edwards, said:

“This is another example of joint working in the city towards a local solution to deliver competitively priced, low carbon energy to homes and businesses in Exeter, and demonstrates Exeter’s commitment to a secure low carbon future.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy, Growth & Cabinet Liason for Exeter said:

"Dextco is a win-win for everybody in the county. It will deliver low carbon energy projects, encourage inward investment, drive growth in the local economy, create skilled jobs and provide secure, low carbon energy at a competitive, transparent price.

“I welcome the formation of a new board and look forward to working closely with board members in the future.”

Councillor Doug Hellier Laing, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Member for Economy, Skills and Tourism, said:

“We’re delighted to be part of this new partnership, which will mean sustainable and low-carbon energy for Teignbridge in the future, and bring economic benefits to the area.

“Dextco has great potential to support the delivery of heat networks to the south west of Exeter and potential energy projects in other major development across the district.”

The Dextco Board of Directors will oversee the work of the company and is made up of: Dave Tarbet (Business Development Director) for RD&E, Phil Attwell (Director of Campus Services) for the University of Exeter, Howard Smith (Principal Project Manager) for Exeter City Council, Mel Sealey (Strategic Development and Infrastructure Manager) for Devon County Council, and Phil Shears (Deputy Chief Executive) for Teignbridge District Council.

Exeter and East Devon Growth Point’s Project Manager, Naomi Harnett, was instrumental in the creation of the company. Naomi said:

“The Growth Point helped to set up the Low Carbon Task Force (LCTF) for Exeter and its surrounding districts to review and implement innovative new ways of providing efficient methods of heat and power for local businesses and people, at the same time reducing the environmental impact.  

“From the work of LCTF, this important step will benefit the greater Exeter area for many years to come, providing competitively priced energy with a lower carbon footprint.  

“Dextco will build on the success of E.ON’s first district heating at Cranbrook and Skypark, recently winning 2 awards for Homes and Communities Project of the Year and Overall Project  of the Year, at the ADE Awards.  Dextco will follow in the footsteps of the landmark district heating network for Exeter at Monkerton, a partnership between E.ON, local authorities, landowners and developers.”