Construction of the underground pipe network would pave the way for the first phase of a district heating scheme, benefiting around 2,000 flats and public buildings.
Clugston Construction and CNIM are expected to complete the new plant for Veolia by mid 2016. Steam generated by the waste incinerator would be converted to hot water in a dedicated energy centre. The hot water would then be fed into a proposed 6.4km system of super-insulated steel pipes under the Aire Valley to heat properties along the route into the city centre.
The council has completed heat mapping work to check feasibility of the plan.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said: “A key benefit of the new recycling facility is the ability to deliver heat generated to homes and buildings. Not only could this help the city reduce its carbon emissions, it could help cut resident’s fuel bills by around 10%.
“Such a significant investment will show that we are serious about making Leeds cleaner and greener and demonstrating that district heating networks are a viable source of low carbon heat.”
A £14m contribution from Leeds City Council and a £7m bid under consideration by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, would allow the council to bring on board a partner to design, build and operate the district heating network.
Subject to the outcome of a separate bid for European funding, the council hopes to convert old electric storage heaters and replace communal heating boilers at multi-storey council flats in Lincoln Green, Saxton Gardens and Ebor Gardens areas and connect them to the district heating network.
As the first phase of a citywide district heating scheme, the network of pipes would have additional connections so it could be expanded in the future, the council said.