UK district energy ‘visionary’ retires

One of the UKDEA’s founding fathers and a leading light in the development of district energy in the UK, Bill Clark, is to retire from his post as Southampton City Council’s Sustainability Policy Manager after more than 30 years of service.

Mr Clark was honoured at a leaving ceremony on the 28th March 2012 by the UKDEA, in recognition of his outstanding services to district energy and significant contribution to driving forward the formation of the UKDEA.

In the time he was at the council, he has driven forward the planning and implementation of district heating systems, setting Southampton firmly on the map as a blueprint for good practice that other areas should follow. he was also part of a core group of industry professionals and stakeholders who saw a need for an organisation like the UKDEA to fill the gap in promotion of district energy, and who pushed forward the development of this successful and progressive member organisation.

The Southampton story began back in the early 80s when the Department for Energy launched a research programme into alternative energy sources. Southampton took part as an area with potential for deep geothermal aquifers, the heat from which could be used to heat local buildings.

Despite the DfE deciding after drilling that the resource in the city was too small for its original plans, Southampton pushed forwards with the project and secured the support of Utilicom to develop the scheme. Later, the partnership was taken over by Cofely and today supplies more than 40 businesses and organisations in the city with heating and cooling.

Amongst the current connections are a leisure centre, the large West Quay shopping centre, Asda, IKEA, Solent University, The Royal South Hants Hospital and many others.

In addition to this, there are hundreds of homes in the city that benefit from the network’s low cost supplies of low carbon heat.

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