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Ground-breaking Heat Networks Investment Project

The UK Government has announced a new scheme for consumers and non-domestic users to participate in a trailblazing heat networks project, will begin in Autumn.

Heat networks, which are dubbed ‘central heating for cities’ can lower bills for both consumers and non-domestic customers, as well as playing a key role in lowering carbon emissions.

The Government is launching the scheme as part of its commitment to tackling energy bills by using innovative, low carbon solutions. The new scheme will bring together hospitals, schools and council buildings to participate in trailblazing heat networks.

The £320M Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), is a key party of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. The scheme will offer grants and loans to both public and private sectors for networks serving two or more buildings.

Heat networks distribute heat efficiently through insulated pipes from a central source to a variety of different customers. For residents in flats, heating costs could be as much as 30% lower on a heat network than alternatives such as individual gas boilers. As well as lowering bills for domestic and non-domestic consumers, they can reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.

Heat networks could play a vital role in the long term decarbonisation of heating, as they provide a unique opportunity to exploit larger scale renewable and recoverable heat sources. Heat networks could meet up to 17% of heat demand in homes and up to 24% of heat demand in industrial and public sector buildings by 2050.

There are already a number of successful heat network projects already operating in the UK such as one in Sheffield which burns 12,000 tonnes of municipal waste each year as the main fuel source for its network. Or Southampton’s main energy centre which has over 45 energy users ranging from over 1,000 residential properties, a hospital, university, shopping centre, police headquarters and BBC studios.

Energy Minister Claire Perry said: “The UK has led in the decarbonisation of electricity, and today’s announcement shows we are just as committed to tackling heat. Today’s announcement creates a route to market for innovative energy projects across the country and demonstrates a key objective of the Clean Growth Strategy; to help deliver technologies that can lower bills, cut carbon and improve the quality of life for communities across the country.”

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