Soaring bills drive CHP and district heating in UK

As UK utility bills continue to soar, energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) and district residential heating schemes are increasingly pitched at saving cash as well as the planet.

Under the UK’s recently announced Energy Bill, domestic energy bills are set to mount to finance investment in new technology. Up to 2021, household bills will ratchet up to cover £24bn ($39bn) investment in energy networks.

Meanwhile, district heating schemes can cap spiralling bills through economies of scale and the inherent efficiency of cogeneration.

Athletes Village Glasgow

In Glasgow, where a combined heat and power (CHP) district heating system underway at the Athletes Village will supply 700 homes, a city council spokesman told COSPP that the technology’s promise for trimming bills could help drive further development.

‘The economic and environmental benefits which will be delivered at the Athletes' Village development in Glasgow are very appealing and point one way forward to delivering affordable energy in an era of high prices,’ he said.

“As the technology develops, we will consider establishing similar projects across the city.”

Ian Manders, deputy director of the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA), told COSPP that such schemes can reliably rein in residents’ utility payments.

‘Providing heating at the community level should always be more efficient than heating buildings with individual boilers,’ he said.

‘District heating networks are recognised by government as an effective way to stabilise the cost of heating and lower carbon emissions. District heating schemes can use many different fuels, including gas and renewable energy, and exploit waste heat from electricity generation and industrial processes to keep heat charges down.’

Over 2012, energy prices for UK consumers have already edged up 7 per cent, pushing increasing numbers into ‘fuel poverty’, in which more than 10 per cent of household income goes on home heating.

By 2016, 9 million UK residents could fall into this category, according to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group.

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