Calls are being made to protect residents on heat networks as energy bills increase due to the global gas supply shortage • The Mayor of London has awarded funding to Switch2 for heat network in southeast London • Cheshire town could be home to the UK’s first hydrogen village • Read more about the developments in sustainable heating and cooling in this month's news update from the UK
Households across the UK are experiencing increases in energy bills, largely driven by the global shortage in gas supplies. Although heat networks have the potential to use renewable source to generate heat, many heat networks in operation in the UK currently use natural gas as a heat source. Ofgem, Great Britain’s energy regulator, recently increased the price cap for gas by 54% to reflect the surge in wholesale prices. However, this price cap does not protect residents who are currently supplied heat via heat networks, leaving them exposed to unrestricted price rises.
Heat Trust, the national consumer protection scheme for heat networks, has warned that without financial government support hundreds of thousands of UK residents could be left unable to afford heating their homes, with some residents and landlords reporting potential price rises of 700%.
As the Queen’s Speech is approaching, which provides the government with an opportunity to highlight its priorities for the months ahead, Heat Trust is urging the government to regulate the heat networks market and confirm Ofgem’s role to oversee the sector to ensure consumers are protected.
The funding has been awarded through a support agreement with Switch2 Energy to develop a decarbonisation scheme for the Royal Arsenal heat network in Woolwich. The funding comes from the Mayor’s Local Energy Accelerator programme, which is 50% funded by the European Regional Development Fund. As part of the agreement Switch2 will develop a decarbonisation retrofit plan to replace existing gas boilers with air source heat pumps in the Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal residential heat network, operated by the company.
The plans are expected to provide renewable heat and hot water to the 755 homes that are part of the residential development, while reducing carbon emissions with up to 300 tonnes annually and simultaneously keeping heat tariffs on an affordable level for residents. The initiative supports the Mayor’s wider ambition to make London a zero carbon city by 2030.
Ellesmere Port, a town in the county of Cheshire in northwest England, has bid to become the UK’s first ‘hydrogen village’ where up to 2000 properties in the Whitby area of the town would replace natural gas with hydrogen for heating and cooking. The town has been shortlisted as one of two potential areas for the hydrogen village pilot in a proposal put forward by Cadent and British Gas.
The existing network of gas pipelines will be used to supply hydrogen starting in 2025. The two-year pilot would include free boiler upgrades for every property in the Whitby area, replacing the old natural gas boilers with hydrogen-ready versions. Additionally, the pilot comes with a guarantee that residents will pay the same to use hydrogen as they would for natural gas during the duration of the programme. The pilot would be first time where hydrogen is used on this scale in the UK.
Sweden is at the forefront of decentralised heat networks technology. Our aim for “Sustainable Heating & Cooling by Sweden” is to facilitate knowledge sharing between British, French and Swedish stakeholders and develop and encourage environmental and economic best practice.
To find out how we can help you and your organisation, please contact our London or Paris-based “SHC” teams. We can introduce you to leading consultants, suppliers of technology and services who will be pleased to share know-how of the development of sustainable heating & cooling solutions.