UK on cusp of major heat network expansion

The British government is supporting a major push to greatly expand the country’s district heat networks.

Ministers set up a “heat network delivery unit” in 2013 to award funding for the development of new schemes, and this week are due to announce the 38 councils that have won the latest £2.8m tranche to work on feasibility studies.
This will bring the total number of local authorities working on such plans to 131, out of the 381 in England and Wales, with more than 200 individual projects in the offing.

More than a third of local authorities in England and Wales are now working on new schemes that transport heat from one source through pipes to hundreds of homes or businesses, according to figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph.

About four in five homes are currently heated by gas-fired boilers but they will have to be replaced by greener forms of heating if Britain is to hit its climate change targets, which require carbon emissions to be slashed by 2050.

Ministers announced last year that a further £320m, of a wider £334m heat funding package, has been set aside for up to 200 projects. Officials say this should supply the equivalent of 400,000 homes.

The Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s official advisers, estimate that heat networks could eventually provide about 18 per cent of the UK’s building-heating needs, up from just 1-2 per cent now.

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