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City Deal area aims to lead way in homes as power stations technology

Helping tackle fuel poverty by equipping over 10,000 homes with energy efficiency technology, a pioneering project earmarked for South West Wales could soon take another step forward.

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Swansea Council's Cabinet will meet on May 7 to consider approving the submission of a Homes as Power Stations project business case to the Swansea Bay City Deal's Joint Committee for decision.

Homes as Power Stations (HAPS) is a regional project due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion City Deal, which is an investment in a programme of projects across Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire.

Subject to approval at the City Deal's Joint Committee, the project will then be submitted to the UK Government and Welsh Government for final sign-off.

Councils in the Swansea Bay City Region are already building HAPS properties.

Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes, Energy and Service Transformation, said Swansea has already been leading the way in putting HAPS technology into practice at three new-build sites in Birchgrove, Blaenymaes and Clase.

She said: "Working with the Welsh School of Architecture we've also retrofitted six bungalows in Craigcefnparc with solar roofs, battery storage facilities and ground source heat pumps among other innovations.

"They've been transformed from very expensive homes to heat to highly energy-efficient homes as power stations, providing substantial energy savings for the residents and more comfortable homes.

"What these pioneering projects are designed to do is act as pathfinders for the HAPS concept, to learn lessons and to extend its commercial viability. Ultimately we're looking to create an industry which could be picked up by private sector as well as public sector construction."

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said the project ties in with other City Deal projects including the Skills and Talent initiative and Digital Infrastructure project, while also aligning to the work of the Active Building Centre at Swansea University which is the UK centre of excellence for transforming construction.

Neath Port Talbot Council is leading the regional project.

Cllr Stewart said: "Energy efficiency technology will be retro-fitted to 7,000 homes throughout the Swansea Bay City Region as part of the project, with a further 3,300 new build homes also set to benefit.

"The project is also aimed at creating a supply chain that could see the region take a leading UK role in a pioneering industry.

"Our other partner councils within the City Deal are also looking at HAPS projects of their own. The opportunities to contribute to reducing the cost of heating homes, properties' carbon footprints and contribute to tackling climate change make HAPS a very attractive prospect for development and innovation."

Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.

The investment programme is worth £1.8 billion and over 9,000 jobs to the Swansea Bay City Region in coming years.

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