Heat networks

Heat networks form an important part of the government’s plan to reduce carbon and cut heating bills for customers.

Heat networks are vital to making net zero a reality in the UK. In high density urban areas, they are often the lowest cost, low carbon heating option. This is because they offer a communal solution that can provide heat to a range of homes and businesses by capturing or generating heat locally.

By driving forward new low carbon technologies like heat networks, we can cut the use of fossil fuels for heating our homes and shield households from oil and gas price rises that are being pushed up by pressures on global energy markets.

Through the Heat Network Transformation Programme (HNTP) the government is working with industry and local authorities, and investing over half a billion pounds in funds and programmes, to develop new heat networks and improve existing ones.

To help shape a successful heat network market the government also works closely with senior industry leaders through the Heat Networks Industry Council.

This collection page pulls together key information about the HNTP.

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A Lovely Landscape

Photo credit: Vital Energi

The role of heat networks

Heat networks distribute heat or cooling from a central source or sources, and deliver it to a variety of different customers such as public buildings, shops, offices, hospitals, universities and homes. By supplying multiple buildings, they avoid the need for individual boilers or electric heaters in every building.

Heat networks are also uniquely able to use local sources of low carbon heat which would otherwise go to waste. This could be from factories, the ground or even from rivers.

Available support

We provide targeted support to grow the heat networks sector and ensure that more homes and businesses in England and Wales can access low carbon heating and hot water. Support includes:

  • funding for feasibility studies
  • capital investment
  • procuring external finance
  • improving the performance of existing networks

Feasibility and detailed project development

The Heat Networks Delivery Unit provides grant funding and guidance through the early stages of project development.

Commercialisation and construction

The Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) is a capital grant fund that supports the development of low carbon heat networks for organisations in the public, private, and third sectors in England.

Finance and investment

The BEIS Heat Investment Vehicle (BHIVE) is a dynamic purchasing system for public sector heat network owners and developers to procure funding and funding-related services.

Heat network operation

The Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) Main

The HNES Main will launch in 2023 and provide grant funding to support performance improvements to existing / operational district heating and communal heating projects.

Ahead of this, projects applying to the GHNF during the 2022 to 2023 financial year can include efficiency works alongside their other eligible costs:

Regulation, zoning and broader policy

Through the Heat Network Transformation Programme, the government is enacting legislation and developing policies and regulations to ensure that heat networks can contribute towards reaching net zero.

This includes improving consumer protection, creating the conditions to grow the market, lowering emissions, improving the performance of heat networks, and building up skills in the sector to encourage investment and jobs growth.

Energy Security Bill
6 July 2022: Collection

Heat Networks Zoning Pilot
12 May 2022: Notice

Recovering the cost of heat networks regulation
16 June 2022: Consultation outcome

Proposals for heat network zoning
16 June 2022: Consultation outcome

Regulations to drive energy efficiency and reduce emissions from heat networks
26 August 2022: Guidance

Products Characteristics Database
External website

Resources: tools, data, research and reports

We have developed a range of tools, data and research reports that can assist in the various aspects of heat network operation from initial planning and development through to long-term operation and expansion.

This includes resources such as a template financial model, regular reports on projects in development and the heat networks pipeline documents which contain overviews of projects and upcoming procurements that are currently being supported by government.

These Heat networks pipelines provide the market with an overview of planning, projects and procurement that Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU), Green Heat Networks Fund (GHNF) and its predecessor, the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) are working with.

Heat networks: guidance for developers and the supply chain

Heat network template financial model: for use by financial modellers to input values from a techno-economic model and evaluate key financial aspects of a prospective heat network opportunity.

Tools, data, research and reports

News and communications

Published 18 July 2016