UK Government awards £54mn in heat network funding

Funding will support the development of schemes in London, Bedfordshire and Woking that use low-carbon heat sources

The UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is awarding £54m in heat network funding.

Funding announced today (July 29) will support the development of schemes in London, Bedfordshire and Woking that use low-carbon heat sources such as heat pumps and energy from waste to warm properties, and comes from the government’s £320mn Heat Networks Investment Project, which supports the development of heat networks across England and Wales.

The projects receiving funding are:

  • Haringey London Borough Council, which has been awarded £27.8mn for two heat network projects - Wood Green District Heating Network (£10.6mn) and the Tottenham Hale and Broadwater Farm District Heating Network (£2mn) - which will collectively supply heat to almost 10,000 homes when fully built out. Both heat networks will be supplied primarily by heat generated by the Energy Recovery Facility being built at the Edmonton Eco Park.
  • Thamesway Energy, which receives £9.4mn for a major expansion to an existing heat network which supplies heat to public sector, commercial and residential customers in Woking town centre. The investment in new infrastructure will enable up to 3,450 new homes to be supplied as part of a major infrastructure scheme in the west and south of Woking.
  • Vital Energi (pictured), which gets £16.9mn to develop a heat network using waste heat from the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, located in a former brick clay extraction pit near Stewartby in Bedfordshire. Up to 12,000 homes and non-domestic buildings could eventually be connected to the scheme.

The move will mean home and business owners can ditch boilers fuelled by more costly oil and gas, helping reduce energy bills and boost the country’s energy independence. The cash injection will enable the projects to develop and complete construction of the networks providing energy to households and commercial sites including shops, offices and public buildings.

As well as helping households move away from expensive fossil fuels, the funding helps address the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of heating homes and workspaces, which makes up almost a third of all UK carbon emissions. The annual carbon savings from these four projects is the equivalent to taking over 5,500 cars off the road or the average household use of over 400 kettles. Vital Energi's Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility is pictured below.

Minister for Business and Energy Lord Callanan said the projects will transform how tens of thousands of households and businesses keep their properties warm.

“By investing in cutting-edge low-carbon heating technologies we are helping to secure a lasting move away from using fossil fuels and protecting consumers from the costs that are driving up energy bills at a time of high global prices," he said. 

A heat network is a distribution system of insulated pipes that takes heat from a central source, such as large-scale heat pumps or heat recovered from industry and delivers it to a number of domestic or non-domestic buildings.

Heat networks are uniquely able to unlock otherwise inaccessible large-scale renewable and recovered heat sources, such as large rivers and industrial heat.

This allows them to reduce bills, support local regeneration and provide a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating, whilst simultaneously boosting energy security. Heat networks which use renewable sources, such as ambient heat and geothermal, also help to increase the UK’s energy independence and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Projects located across England and Wales have been awarded funding through the scheme, including in Bristol, Gateshead, Leeds and Liverpool. A total of over £250mn has been awarded since 2018, which will help households and businesses across the regions to access low carbon heating

Earlier this year the Government introduced its Energy Security Bill which will increase consumers protections. For the first time Ofgem will be appointed to oversee regulation of the heat networks market – some 480,000 consumers across Britain – to ensure consumers are charged a fair price, including by enabling the regulator to investigate disproportionate prices and take enforcement action.

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