Waitrose to open second biomass energy centre to fuel carbon savings

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Waitrose is to open a biomass energy centre at its new Bracknell store, which it claims will reduce carbon emissions by more than 1,000 tonnes a year.

MITIE, the strategic outsourcing and energy services company, has started work on the tri-generation plant, which will supply the supermarket with heat, electricity and chilled water.

This is the second energy centre MITIE has developed for Waitrose. The first at the retailer’s East Cowes store will be up and running in December 2011. It is part of wider planned collaboration between MITIE and Waitrose, which is designed to help the supermarket chain achieve a carbon emissions reduction of 15% by 2020/2021.

MITIE’s Asset Management business has developed and will operate the energy plant to power and heat the 36,000sq ft store during a 12-year contract. The plant will reduce the store’s typical consumption of grid electricity by 69% and gas by 84%.

Mike Tivey, managing director of MITIE’s Asset Management business, said: “Waitrose’s new energy centres will enable them to benefit from low carbon, efficient and resilient energy, as well as helping to meet their sustainability targets. This partnership is a perfect example of the economic and environmental benefits decentralised energy is bringing to the private and public sectors.”

The Bracknell plant, which will source woodchip from local sustainable woodlands, is due to be up and running by the end of March 2012.  It will be housed in a new building next to the supermarket with the absorption chiller, dry air cooler and cooling tower located in the main store plant well.

The energy centre at Waitrose East Cowes will provide the same energy and carbon savings as at Bracknell. Both will be carbon negative stores, said MITIE.