central heating network

£24m allocated to nine ‘central heating for cities’ projects

A series of central heat networks are to be built around the UK after the Government announced it would allocate £24m to nine councils to support the projects.

The networks will act as “central heating for cities”, the Government said, and the money is just the first round of funding from a £320m pot to support district heating schemes around the country.

The schemes are designed to provide more environmentally friendly and cheaper heat and hot water to homes and businesses.

The nine successful councils range from Sheffield to four London boroughs and involve technology including gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants, an energy from waste plant and a heat pump scheme.

In addition, four other local authorities have been awarded a share of £200,000 to help them develop their plans for heat networks.

It is expected that, in addition to Government money, councils will attract funding from other sources such as private investors and that overall the £320m will leverage a further £2bn to help build 200 networks nationwide.

District heat networks are seen as a way of decarbonising the UK’s heating system because they remove the need for homes and commercial buildings to have their own boilers by linking them to a single heat source.

This heat can come from combined heat and power plants, which capture and use the heat generated from burning fuel to produce electricity, as well as biomass boilers, incinerating rubbish or using geothermal energy from deep underground.

Schemes can also use waste heat from places such as factories and even the London Underground.

The heat is piped to homes and businesses in the network to provide hot water and heating.

Heat networks have the potential to reduce heating costs in some cases by more than 30 per cent, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

Climate change and industry minister Nick Hurd said: “This Government is committed to ensuring a clean, secure and affordable energy supply for communities and businesses across the country.

“Energy innovations like heat networks can cut costs for households and reduce carbon emissions, as almost half of the energy we use goes towards heating our homes and buildings.

“The £24 million in Government funding awarded to these projects will help deliver low carbon energy at competitive prices for local consumers.”

The nine winning projects receiving a share of £24m are:

  • Sheffield District Energy Network development - energy from waste plant;
  • Somers Town (Phase 2), Camden - gas combined heat and power plant;
  • Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network - gas combined heat and power plant;
  • Colchester Northern Gateway - heat pump
  • Wood Street South, Waltham Forest, London - gas combined heat and power plant;
  • Becontree, Barking & Dagenham - gas combined heat and power plant;
  • Church Street District Heating Scheme, Westminster - gas combined heat and power plant;
  • Crawley Town Centre Heat Network - biomass boiler and gas combined heat and power plant;
  • St Johns Heat Network, Manchester - gas combined heat and power plant.

Yesterday, energy company E.ON announced that it was installing a battery the size of four shipping containers at its combined heat and power plant in Blackburn Meadows near Sheffield to cope with variations in the power supply. 

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