PLANS to develop a new district heating scheme are a step closer to reality after they were earmarked for a £5m investment.
The Homes and Communities Agency has pledged to give the project, which would serve 2,900 homes and businesses in Monkerton, Pinhoe, Tithebarn Green and Exeter Science Park, a share of its £474m local infrastructure fund.
The system will work in the same way as the network which is already up and running for Cranbrook and Skypark, operated by E.ON.
It will save 13,000 tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent of taking 5,200 cars off the road.
Cllr Paul Diviani, leader of East Devon District Council, said: "We have shown at Cranbrook and Skypark that district heating is the way forward.
"The Government has clearly recognised that and now this award from the LIF gives us an opportunity to build upon that success."
Cllr Rachel Sutton of Exeter City Council said: "It is so pleasing to see the success of the first projects at Cranbrook now being extended to other developments including the Science Park, confirming and reinforcing the environmental and economic benefits of the approach.
"It is partnership working at its best."
Colin Molton, HCA executive director, said: "This is great news for Exeter and East Devon and further evidence of the Government's commitments to support schemes that can meet its aspirations for housing and economic growth.
"There is work to be done to finalise these bids, which we will look to complete as quickly as possible.
"We are really pleased that Exeter and East Devon are once again leading the way in turning ambitious plans for a stronger economy into a reality."
The pipework and related infrastructure for the district heating scheme would be put in place in line with building progress on site, meaning that new homes and businesses can be 'plumbed in' to the network as they are being constructed.
Jeremy Bungey, head of community energy at E.ON, said: "The growth point and its partners across the region deserve real congratulations, not only for bringing the Cranbrook and Skypark developments off the drawing board and into a real, sustainable community, but also for looking to build on that success to help deliver more efficient and lower carbon energy sources elsewhere in the city."