Heat networks could deliver up to 18% of UK heating demand by 2030, up from current levels of 2% today, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has claimed. In response, the Government recently awarded £24m for nine district heat network infrastructure projects across the country to provide households and businesses with clean and efficient heating systems.
The project – expected to enable up to 200 heat networks to be built – will run until 2021 and is hoped by ministers to unlock up to £2bn in new heat network infrastructure investments across the country.
The announcement followed the launch of a new multi-stakeholder task force by the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), which aims to deliver a subsidy-free heat network market with strong protections for consumers.
Smart Celsius Project
Co-funded by the EU, CELSIUS collaborates throughout the whole spectrum of planning, implementing and optimising new and existing smart infrastructure solutions for heating and cooling. There is enough waste heat produced in the EU to heat EU’s entire building stock, and EU has recognized that district heating and cooling systems have an important role to play in order to reach the energy efficiency goals. District heating and cooling will also adress problems with fossil fuel dependency, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
Smart City Heating:
An integral part of building sustainable urban developments is to respond to the high heat demands in urban areas with low carbon solutions. Nearly half the energy we use in the UK is used for heating. The future of Heating: Meeting the challenge, published in March, set out the Government’s next steps for ensuring that affordable, secure, low carbon heating plays an important role in the nation’s energy mix.
Heat is the single biggest reason we use energy in our society.We use more energy for heating than for transport or the generation of electricity.This year the UK will spend around £33 billion on heat across our economy.
Heat networks can be integrated with local authority plans for urban regeneration, for reducing fuel poverty, and addressing environmental issues.They can also be part of an integrated low carbon system, as seen in some European cities.
The transformation of heat-generation and heat-use will not only meet the objectives of reducing emissions from heat, contributing to the UK’s effort on tackling climate change, but will also help ensure more physical security and a diverse energy supply; improve productivity through greater energy efficiency and support growth in low carbon heat generation and its supply chain; and ensure the most vulnerable are supported during the transition to a low carbon economy.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategies vision is for heat networks to play a critical role in providing affordable decarbonised heat and improving security of supply. The Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) was established in 2013 to address the capacity and capability issues faced by Local Authorities in England and Wales when exploring opportunities for heat networks. This innovative support unit combines grant funding with guidance from a dedicated team of commercial and technical specialists with a wealth of experience in developing heat networks, recruited into the department to work as critical partners to Local Authorities.
The Heat Network Delivery Unit is currently supporting 122 projects in 91 Local Authorities with almost £7 million in grant funding awarded, to support £10 million of development studies in the coming year.
The Heat Networks Investment Project:
In last year’s autumn statement the Chancellor announced that the Government will provide over £300m of funding for heat networks over the next five years (2016/17 – 2020/21). The specific funding allocation is £320m, and this is expected to draw in around £2 billion of additional capital investment and to lead to the construction of hundreds of heat networks in urban and rural areas that will generate enough heat to supply the equivalent of over 400,000 homes across England and Wales.
What are heat networks and why do they matter?
A well designed and operated heat network can be both cheaper and more efficient than traditional buildings-level heating solutions and as such has a key role to play as part of decarbonisation efforts. In order for the UK to meet its carbon objectives cost effectively, it is estimated that between 14% and 43% of heat demand could be supplied by efficient heat networks by 2050, whilst analysis for the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) Fifth Carbon Budget Report modelled heat networks serving 18% (81 TWh) of building’s heat demand in 2050 and saving 15 MtCO2e/year13. As heat networks currently only supply around 2% of heat demand, transformative change will be needed to deliver these potential carbon savings, both now and in the future, before a self-sustaining heat network market can be created.
The Heat Trust Programme:
Heat Trust is a voluntary industry-led customer protection scheme that recognises best practice.
It puts in place a common standard in the quality and level of protection given by heat energy suppliers to their residential and micro-business customers. It also provides an independent process for settling disputes between customers and their heat supplier. This is provided by the Energy Ombudsman which is operated by the Ombudsman Services.
Heat Trust protection is aimed at heat energy suppliers who contract with metered or unmetered domestic and micro business properties where the heat customer pays their supplier directly for their heat energy. Where appropriate, the level of protection afforded under the Scheme seeks to replicate that of gas and electricity customers.
The term ‘community energy’ covers a range of collective actions, from saving or reducing our use of it, to purchasing, managing and generating the stuff. It does not include commercially or Government-supported initiatives, nor isolated, individual efforts. The emphasis is very much on projects involving local engagement, leadership and control, and where there is a benefit to local communities. Community Energy projects are often at the cutting edge of innovation and technology. Communities want to find new ways to maximise the benefits of renewable energy generation using emerging technologies, and the clever local use of heat or power.
Distributed Energy Systems:
Distributed Energy Systems (DES) is a term which encompasses a diverse array of generation, storage, energy monitoring and control solutions. DES technologies represent a paradigm shift and offer building owners and energy consumers significant opportunities to reduce cost, improve reliability and secure additional revenue through on-site generation and dynamic load management.