The network will generate low-carbon power, heat and hot water for the city, helping Manchester towards its ambitions to be carbon-neutral, climate resilient and zero waste by 2038.
It will initially serve six council buildings, including the Town Hall, Manchester Central Library, Manchester Central Convention Centre and Bridgewater Hall.
However, is believed to have the potential to grow and connect further buildings across the city centre in future.
The scheme, which is being delivered by Vital Energi, is projected to save more than 3,100 tonnes of carbon emissions in its first five years of operation.
The energy centre for the network, designed by architect Tonkin Liu, is being constructed close to the Manchester Central Convention Centre. It has five flues forming a sculptural ‘Tower of Light’ (pictured below).
Containing a 3.3MWe combined heat and power (CHP) engine and two 12MW gas boilers, the energy centre will generate electricity, and harness the recovered heat from this process for distribution via a 2km district heating network, which will supply heat and hot water for the buildings.
Work on the Civic Quarter Heat Network project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
The scheme has been part-funded by a £2.87m grant from the government’s heat network investment project (HNIP).