Great to see Government’s commitment to heat being supported through a new £6 million grant funding programme to help Local Authorities (LAs) in England and Wales to develop new heating and cooling networks, and expand existing networks.
To win a share of the funding, local authorities must bring forward ambitious and innovative proposals to develop and deliver heat networks that – as much as possible – draw their heat energy from renewable, sustainable or recoverable sources.
This could include any system in which heat is generated off-site by renewable or recovered sources such as waste heat from industry, energy from waste plants and biomass combined heat and power. Many university campuses, new mixed commercial and residential developments and high rise flats draw their heat from these systems.
“Local authorities are at the heart of creating new city centre district heating schemes, and this welcome announcement shows that central government is serious about supporting them in this task”.
This is a great opportunity for cities in the UK to deliver projects and align with the EU Funding programme in development across the local enterprises across the country. Currently, District Heating only provides about 1 to 2 per cent of the U.K.’s heat demand, yet analysis has shown, that it could supply as much as 14 per cent of the U.K.’s heat demand over time. This would be a cost-effective and ultimately viable alternative to individual energy efficient technologies and also help reduce energy bills for customers.
Best suited in urban areas with a mix of varying building types and a high heat demand, district heating has the ability to generate heat at minimum costs and thus, in effect, can contribute towards the ultimate aim, of a reduction in fuel poverty and an increase in the U.K.’s overall energy efficiency as a result. Around 200,000 dwellings in the UK are estimated as being served by the district heating scheme to date.
The scheme is currently used, in the main, by buildings with an area of community ownership, such as a university campus or hospital site. Further use has been seen in the non-dwelling sector, one example of such a scheme being in Sheffield. This is the U.K.’s largest district heating schemes, consisting of 44 Km of pipe work, serving 140 buildings across the city, including two universities and various municipal buildings.