More homes and businesses could soon be heated by a range of low carbon technologies, such as heat pumps, energy from waste, recovered industrial heat or heat taken from landfill.
Almost £2.4 million will be offered to 32 local authorities across England and Wales to support the development of heat network projects, designed to provide more efficient heat to buildings and potentially lower heating bills, through the Government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU).
Alongside this, the Government has today launched a £7 million scheme offering developers across the UK the opportunity to compete for funding to develop new heat networks technologies, such as recovering industrial heat or energy from waste. The aim is to drive forward innovation by helping businesses create new technologies that work more efficiently, cut carbon emissions and cost less.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:
“Recovering wasted heat from industrial plants or landfill sites means we can heat our homes and businesses more efficiently, as well as helping to drive down energy bills. Improving the way we heat our buildings and helping local authorities fund innovative and more efficient ways of supplying lower carbon heat will also reduce our dependency on costly, imported gas.”
The 32 local authorities are the third group of successful bidders to be announced under the Government’s drive to promote the development of heat networks, also known as district heating. Heat networks mean individual homes and businesses do not need to generate their own heat, they can share it through a network of pipes carrying hot water.
There are approximately 2,000 heat networks in the UK at the moment, supplying heat to 210,000 dwellings and 1,700 commercial and public buildings. A further 150 schemes are known to be under development by local authorities across the UK.
Estimates show that around 15 per cent of UK heat demand could be cost effectively met by heat networks by 2030 and over 40 per cent by 2050. Successful local authorities will be offered grants ranging from around £10,000 to £250,000 to kick-start heat network projects in England and Wales. The HNDU may also provide other types of support and guidance to successful local authorities, including assistance in developing business plans which attract commercial investment to supply heat efficiently and cost-effectively to homes and businesses.
During the second round of HNDU funding earlier this year, Bath and North East Somerset Council successfully secured £95,000 to help identify and evaluate low carbon heat networks in the area. In July this year, the council introduced policy requirements which require all new builds to meet carbon targets. A fourth round of HNDU funding will open to local authorities in England & Wales on 16 October 2014.