UK news update May 2024

Scottish city soon to connect first homes to £30m heat network • Initiative to provide protection for over 500,000 Heat Network customers • £557 million to upgrade public buildings to cleaner heating • Read more about the developments in sustainable heating and cooling in this month's news update from the UK

First homes soon connected to Edinburgh’s £30 million heat network

A major renewable energy initiative is set to transform the heating for thousands of homes in Edinburgh. Midlothian Council, in partnership with Swedish company Vattenfall Heat UK, aims to connect the first homes at their new Shawfair development to a £30 million heat network by October. The project, funded by both the council and Vattenfall Heat UK, with additional support from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Programme, represents a significant step towards decarbonised heat in Scotland and beyond.

The initial phase will provide heating to 3,000 homes in Shawfair and another 1,000 homes at Newton and Wellington Farms, utilising up to 20 MW of waste heat from FCC Environment’s Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre. In addition to carbon reductions, the network also offers long-term benefits such as maintenance-free heating units for homeowners. Vattenfall Heat UK will own and maintain these units, eliminating the need for homeowners to replace gas boilers in the future.

Construction began in 2022 and has seen substantial progress, with the main spine of the heat pump network installed and the energy centre completed. The network will use a temporary boiler until the full connection to the energy from waste recycling plant is established by mid-2025.

Read more in article from The National

Step closer to protect over 500.000 heat network customers 

In a significant move to enhance consumer rights, the UK government has announced new regulations aimed at protecting the over 500,000 heat network customers throughout the country. The initiative is set to deliver compensation and fairer energy bills, bringing consumer protections to families and businesses connected to heat networks.

While customers on heat networks registered with the Heat Trust already receive some support, the new regulations will significantly boost these protections. Starting next year, families and businesses connected to a heat network will start receiving compensation for heating loss, fairer pricing, and clearer billing. These measures aim to provide customers with rights similar to traditional gas and electricity connections.

The UK Government’s £32 million Heat Network Efficiency Scheme is part of the broader initiative to update and improve heat networks across the UK. The scheme enables network operators to replace inefficient equipment, enhancing service reliability, and heating performance. Some project recently benefiting from the scheme include Newport City Homes Housing Association, awarded £3.7 million to upgrade the Duffryn District Heating System, and Bristol Heat Networks Limited, which received around £750.000 for the Redcliffe Heat Network.

The initiatives have received positive responses from industry bodies, consumer groups, and heat network customers, marking a significant regulatory step forward in consumer protection and energy efficiency.

Read more in article from Heating & Ventilating

£557 million for public buildings to switch to cleaner heating and save on bills 

In a major push towards energy efficiency and carbon reduction, the UK government has announced a £557 million additional investment to help schools, pools, hospitals, and other public buildings switch to low-carbon heating and other energy-saving measures. This funding is part of the government’s broader strategy to cut energy bills and carbon emissions, estimated to save taxpayers an estimated £650 million annually by 2037, while contributing towards Net-zero targets.

Over £530 million of the total investment will be directed towards upgrading public buildings, including the installation of heat pumps, solar panels, insulation, and low-energy lighting. The measures are designed to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, improve energy independence, and significantly cut energy costs.

Since the launch of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme in 2020, over 1,000 projects have received funding to upgrade thousands of buildings. In this latest phase, notable projects include:

  • Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust: Awarded over £21 million to decarbonize three buildings by installing heat pumps, insulation, double glazing, and LED lighting.
  • Loughborough University: Received over £2 million to replace old gas-fired boilers with efficient heat pumps for their Olympic-sized swimming pool.
  • Surrey County Council: Secured over £5 million to reduce emissions across 19 sites, including libraries, nursing homes, community centers, a fire station, schools, and council headquarters.

Through these efforts, the UK is not only reducing emissions but also securing a more sustainable and cost-effective future for its public sector.

Read more in the Press Release from the UK Government


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