New heat network projects awarded £54 million in government funding round • UK’s largest carbon capture and usage plant now operational • The UK Government outlines increased ambitions for heat networks in new Energy Security Bill • Read more about the developments in sustainable heating and cooling in this month's news update from the UK
To shield costumers from soaring fuel costs, and to help reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the UK government commits £54 million to support 4 new heat network projects. Once completed, some additional 28.000 homes and business across England will be supplied with clean, affordable and reliable low-carbon heating.
The funding will be used to accelerate the roll-out of heat networks which help reduce consumers’ heating bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus increase the UK’s energy independence. Solutions which promote heat regeneration, such as feeding heat networks with excess heat from energy-from-waste (EfW) plants and recovered industrial heat are emphasised.
The projects awarded government funding are:
The projects’ funding was awarded through the UK government’s £320 million “Heat Networks Investment Project” (HNIP) scheme launched in 2018. Succeeding the HNIP, the UK government launched a £288 million “Green Heat Network Fund” in March 2022 to further accelerate the rollout of innovative, low-carbon heat networks.
Carbon Capture and Storage technology (CCS) has received great interests from companies, environmental organisations, and legislators around the world. While the technology prevents carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, the storage of the captured emissions might not be as established as the capturing process itself.
To counter this, Tata Chemicals Europe have come up with innovative solutions to capture, treat, and re-use some 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide currently generated by one of their UK plants. The initiative will contribute towards the company’s green ambitions, by reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions with over 10%.
While more traditional CCS-technology often relies on solutions where the captured carbon is transported long distances and then stored underground, the newly implanted solutions instead allow for local recovery of high-purity carbon dioxide. The recovered raw material may then be used in the production of products like, dishwasher tablets, food, and pharmaceuticals, thus lowering companies’ costs and need for external sourcing of certain input materials.
The £16.7m project is the first of its kind in the UK and have received a £4.2m grant from the Carbon Capture and Utilisation Demonstration (“CCUD”) Programme which is administrated by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
A new government bill presented in parliament on July 6 aims to address the current energy trilemma; ambitious goals for the green transition, national security, and consumer affordability. While listing a wide plethora of measures, significant emphasis is given to heat networks, for which continued growth is deemed critical to achieve UK’s net-zero 2050 ambitions. To further accelerate the roll-out, nation-wide heat network zoning is proposed as a key regulatory measure.
The 2022 UK energy security bill is built upon several conclusions from the Committee on Climate Change (2021), including the projection that 18% of the UK’s heating demand within a few decades must be supplied by low-carbon heat networks. This to, in a cost-efficient manner, comply with the government’s ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions before 2050. However, provided the usage of low-carbon heat sources, the Energy Technologies Institute (2018) projects actual market potential to exceed 56% of the UK’s total building heat demand.
Heat network zoning (HNZ), along several other types of regulation, is further outlined in the 2022 energy security bill as suggested government regulation to further accelerate the expansion of heat networks in the UK. In practice, such a measure would entail public authorities to, based on certain criteria (population density, industrial heat recovery potential, available heating solutions, etc.) establish high-potential zones for heat networks.
Within these areas, all new built properties, and existing publicly owned facilities would be required to connect to the local heat network. In a second step, all large (annual consumption > 100 Mwh) existing properties would meet the same requirement. Alongside these measures, additional existing properties would also be encouraged to connect to the network, but on a voluntary basis.
These efforts combined would guarantee a more predictable demand for local heat networks’ services, which is a key feature for heat network operators and their investors alike. Their successful expansion would also help addressing the growing energy trilemma, by supplying domestically produced (i.e non-dependent on foreign suppliers), environmentally friendly, and affordable, energy for millions of UK households and businesses.
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.