The Merseyside Pension Fund (MPF) has increased its funding of the development of a heat network as part of Liverpool Waters, a major regeneration project in the northwest of England.

The pension fund has increased its investment to provide a £20m (€22.9m) facility to develop a network that will provide up to 19 gigawatt hours of heat energy per annum in Liverpool’s northern docks and greater waterfront area.

The project is expected to save around 4,200 tonnes of carbon per year.

MPF is making the investment through its Catalyst Fund, established in 2016 to invest in projects that support economic growth in the Liverpool area.

Peter Wallach, director of pensions at MPF, said: “Catalyst Fund represents MPF’s commitment to local development and regeneration, making a positive impact on the communities its stakeholders live, work and retire into, while seeking commercial return for its members.

“We are pleased to have made our third Catalyst Fund investment which will provide cost-effective heat and power solutions to up to 9000 homes and 4m sqft of commercial space with cleaner [combined heat and power] technology as part of the UK’s drive to reduce carbon emissions.

“This project will contribute towards the UK government’s CO2 targets by delivering low-carbon heat and power and make Liverpool a greener place to live, work and visit. We look forward to the potential of making similar investments in the future.”

Herbin Duffield, director of investment advisory, CBRE Capital Advisors, which arranged the funding, said: “The continued support will accelerate the delivery of an important regeneration project in the city region, as well as facilitate low-carbon heat and energy in keeping with the UK government’s clean growth strategy.”

The heat network will be delivered by Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, which is developing the Liverpool Waters regeneration project. Peel NRE has established a dedicated energy supply company, Mersey Heat, to build, own and operate the heat network.

The funding has already facilitated the development of initial underground pipes to transfer heat energy at the Prince’s and Central Docks, and northern areas of Liverpool Waters. The continued support will establish a permanent energy centre at Great Howard Street and further phases of underground pipes connecting the heat network to developments in Liverpool Waters, such as the Titanic Hotel.

Jonathan Burley, Peel NRE’s commercial director, said: “We are very pleased the Mersey Heat project is being financially supported by the local Merseyside Catalyst Fund. Their involvement highlights the importance the Liverpool city region is placing on addressing low-carbon energy generation and its willingness to innovate.”

Burley added: “So far, the UK has made great progress in de-carbonising the electricity sector, but more needs to be done on heating and transport emissions. This is the next phase of a 10-year project, which we hope will eventually supply around 9,000 homes and numerous businesses along Liverpool’s waterfront.”