Press release

£9.4 million to boost low carbon heating

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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.

Notes for Editors:

1.Heat networks supply heat to a number of buildings or dwellings from a heat generated at a central source and supplied through a system of insulated pipes. Heat production at this communal, rather than individual scale, is more energy efficient, delivers carbon savings, and can reduce consumer bills through more competitive wholesale fuel prices.

2.The Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit was established in September 2013 with an initial £7 million fund to promote heat networks. Grant funding may be accompanied by support from experts in the unit to assist local authorities develop investment grade proposals for heat networks.

3.All bids were reviewed by a panel of engineering, financial and commercial experts with significant experience in heat networks development. Bids were assessed against a range of criteria including technical feasibility, commercial viability, future carbon saving and social benefits.

4.Grant offers are made subject to compliance with state aid regulations and agreement of a Memorandum of Understanding.

5.Successful local authorities, including support and guidance only:

  • Borough of Poole
  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Bury Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Colchester Borough Council
  • Cornwall County Council
  • Durham County Council
  • Eastbourne Borough Council
  • Eastleigh Borough Council
  • Gateshead Metropolitan Council
  • Kirklees Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Lewes District Council
  • London Borough of Enfield
  • London Borough of Lambeth
  • London Borough of Lewisham
  • Milton Keynes Council
  • North Warwickshire Borough Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • Southampton City Council
  • Sunderland City Council
  • Swindon Borough Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Warwick District Council
  • Wiltshire Council
  • Woking Borough Council
  • Wychavon District Council

6.Details of how to apply for funding through the local authorities heat networks funding stream can be found on the Heat Network Funding Application page.

7.The Government’s pre-commercial procurement scheme offers developers across the UK the opportunity to compete for contracts to test and develop a heat network technology or technique at a pre-commercial stage. To apply for funding please visit the Innovation funding for low-carbon technologies page

8.An estimated 14 per cent of UK heat demand could be cost effectively met by heat networks by 2030 and over 40 per cent by 2050. The recent report by the Committee on Climate Change agreed with DECC that heat networks can play an important part of the overall plan for lower carbon heating in the decades ahead.