The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich, has a new agreement with Forest Fuels, buying the biomass boiler from the cathedral and repaying a grant. The cathedral simply buys heat from Forest Fuels and benefits from a significant financial boost.

The Forest Fuels Biomass ESCO scheme provides a large cash injection for the cathedral, and Forest Fuels owns and operates the boiler, looking after all future servicing and maintenance.

The move means that the cathedral boiler is now operated by a team of experts and the cathedral staff have no day-to-day responsibilities for the boiler. They simply benefit from sustainable, renewable heat.

“The biomass boiler has been good for the Cathedral, helping to reduce the costs of heating this large building. Unfortunately, because it was installed using a grant facility, it meant that we were unable to receive RHI payments as well as paying for all maintenance costs.

The Forest Fuels’ ESCO model has proved ideal for us in many ways. They have given us a lump sum payment to help reduce other overheads, reduced our boiler maintenance costs to zero and removed the operational time we input. All the servicing is taken care of by experts, so all we have to do is pay for the fuel we use.”

Gavin Wood, General Manager Norwich Cathedral

RHI grant prepayment

The cathedral originally received funding for its biomass project in 2009, but the grant’s conditions meant that they were not eligible for payments when the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched in 2011.

Lump sum payment

Now, however, the Forest Fuels ESCO model enables them to have reliable, low-carbon heat for the next 20 years and a substantial lump sum to help the cathedral with its other significant running costs.

“Our biomass ESCO scheme is one of those wonderful arrangements where there is a benefit for all parties, particularly the customer that already has the biomass boiler on site. We are finding that increasing numbers of organisations are keen to do this, because it makes their lives much simpler and frees up valuable capital that they would normally not have access to.
Cathedrals and churches are particularly good candidates for ESCOs as they have high ongoing maintenance costs, and here Forest Fuels can help by increasing their funds and reducing their monthly outgoings.”

David Newman, Forest Fuels Business Development Manager

Zero biomass maintenance costs for any organisation

The Forest Fuels ESCO model – or ‘Energy Supply Contract’ – works perfectly for any organisation, particularly large churches and cathedrals that could benefit from a large lump sum (assuming that a biomass boiler is already installed) and the simplicity of simply paying for the heat they use without the need to look after their boiler’s maintenance issues.