£80m funding announced for innovative heat network projects

Four projects, including one which will use sewer water to heat homes, will share £80.6 million from the Green Heat Network Fund, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has announced today.

A further £8m the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme will be used to improve 34 inefficient heat networks.

The sewer project, which is based in Bolton, received £11 million of funding. It will extract energy from sewage and waste hot water from washing machines, bathrooms and kitchens to fuel a new heat pump, as part of the town’s first district heating network.

The move will provide a recycled heating source for the local community – including the University of Bolton and the Town Council – helping keep energy bills down. It is one of four innovative green heating projects to receive grants today from the government’s Green Heat Network Fund.

The Hull East District Heat Network has been awarded £22 million to build a heat network using excess heat generated by a nearby chemicals park. The project will provide low carbon heating to 14 public sector council buildings and industrial businesses.

In Exeter, £42.5 million will be spent on building a heat network using air source heat pumps and the UK’s largest high-temperature water source heat pump. Buildings connected to the network will see an initial reduction of 65-75% in carbon emissions compared to gas heating.

£4.6 million will go to the Greenwich Peninsula ESCO District Heating Network in London to connect over 9,000 existing and new homes and 94,000 m² of commercial space to low-carbon heating, powered by an air source heat pump fixed on the roof of the Greenwich Peninsula Energy Centre.

Funding to improve heat networks includes £3.7 million to upgrade the Duffryn District Heating System in Newport. This will improve the performance of the network for more than 970 homes, a local school, and businesses. 

The Redcliffe Heat Network in Bristol will receive £746,582 to help replace the pipework across the network, with 740 residents benefitting from improvements. 

The University of Plymouth has been awarded £243,280 to upgrade to a sustainable heating system in the Portland Square area of its campus. The funding will improve the efficiency of the network allowing fossil fuel-powered appliances to be replaced with heat pumps and electric boilers.

Stephen Knight, Managing Director at Heat Trust, the national consumer protection scheme for heat network customers, said: ‘We sadly hear of far too many examples of inefficient and poorly performing heat networks. These can result in much higher heating costs for residents, overheating corridors and frequent breakdowns.

‘The steep rises in gas prices over the last few years has meant that inefficient heat networks can be very expensive for residents.

‘The Government’s Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) is therefore an important step in the right direction, and we welcome today’s announcement of funding. I would urge all those responsible for running existing heat networks to consider bidding for this funding in future rounds.’


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