Gov to invest £270m in green heat networks

The Government has announced a £270 million investment to launch the UK’s Green Heat Network Fund aimed at growing low-carbon energy sources.

The government said the latest round of heat network funding in England will only support low-carbon technologies, such as heat pumps, solar and geothermal energy in the roll out of the next generation of heat networks scheduled for 2022.

The new heat networks will play a key role in cutting carbon emissions from heating buildings in towns and cities, which accounts for 21 per cent of the UK total.

Heat networks supply heat to buildings from a central source, avoiding the need for households and workplaces to have individual, energy-intensive heating solutions - such as gas boilers.

At present, there are over 14,000 heat networks in the UK, providing heating and hot water to around 480,000 consumers.

Heat networks have the potential to be a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating.

They are the only way that larger-scale renewable and recovered heat sources - like the heat from large rivers and urban recovered heat, such as from the London Underground – can be utilised.

The new Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) successor scheme will go even further, with applications only being supported if they include low-carbon heat-generating technologies, such as heat pumps, waste heat and energy from geothermal sources.

The successor scheme is set to play a significant role in kick-starting market demand for heat pumps, which will drive down costs for consumers and delivering a mix of low-carbon heating solutions as we incentivise people to gradually transition away from fossil fuel boilers over the next 15 years.

Energy Minister Lord Callanan said: “Finding a mix of innovative solutions to how we heat our homes in the most affordable way is going to be vital as we support people to gradually transition away from gas boilers over the next 15 years.

“Today’s announcement shows we are going even further in our goals to expand this tried and tested heat networks technology, making even more use of the likes of recovered heat from the London Underground to heat our homes.”

He added that although heat networks currently meet approximately 2 per cent of the overall UK demand for heating, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has estimated that, with continued support, they could provide 18 per cent by 2050 - which is why the government is driving investment through the Green Heat Network Fund.

The Green Heat Network Fund is expected to fund the delivery of an estimated 10.3Mt of total carbon savings by 2050 or the equivalent of taking 4.5 million cars in England off the road for a year.

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