£91m for seven low-carbon heat networks in England

Schemes in Bradford, Cornwall, Huddersfield, East London, Reading and Rotherham and Yorkshire to share in money from Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF).  

Each network is designed to address local-level, sustainable transitions to low carbon, supporting communities and businesses at the same time as acting towards net zero by 2050.

heating, warmth, energy

GHNF provides money for new and existing low and zero carbon heat networks in England. The aim is to provide long-term sustainable and energy-efficient heating and hot water while also helping to reduce bills.  

The new funding will support a wide range of low-carbon technologies, including waste heat extraction from energy centres and biomass plants, ground source and air source heat pumps, and the UK’s first deep geothermal project. It’s hoped that these innovative projects will provide a blueprint for others. 

The projects are: 

1Energy Group has £20m to construct and commercialise a heat network for clean district heating across Bradford, using a large air-source heat pump (ASHP) – the largest installation of the sort in the UK to date.  

1Energy Group has also been awarded more than £25m to construct and commercialise the Rotherham Energy Network. Phase 1 of this project, using an 8MW heat pump, will deliver 43.2GWh of heat from early 2025. The network should be fully operational from 2027. 

Cornwall Council will receive more than £22m for the Langarth District Heat Network, providing green heat from the UK’s first deep geothermal project. This is expected to deliver 50GWh per year, including to Royal Cornwall Hospital and a new 3,800-unit development. It could also replace up to 26MW/h per year of existing commercial gas-fired heating. 

Kirklees Council has been awarded more than £8m for the Huddersfield District Energy Network, in which excess heat will be recovered from an existing energy-from-waste (EfW) plant and distributed to public and private sector buildings. It is expected to deliver 7.6GWh of heat in its first year, rising to 14.2GWh in its second year and 21.7GWh in its third. 

East London Energy has been awarded £1.76m for an extension to its existing district energy network. The new extension will deliver 2.7GWh per year of low-carbon heating and hot water to 750 homes. 

Reading University has been awarded £2.2m to expand and decarbonise its energy centre at Whiteknights campus, upgrading the current CHP-led network to a low-carbon open loop ground source heat pump. 

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council will have £12m to construct Goole District Heat Network, which will recover waste heat from a local industrial source for use in residential, commercial and industrial sites. It should deliver 322,000 tonnes of carbon savings over 40 years of operation. 

Ken Hunnisett, Programme Director for Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management which supports GHNF, says: ‘Heat networks have long since been a vital part of the UK’s lowest cost pathway to net zero but it’s the step-change in scale and ambition of these projects, and those that are expected to follow them, that distinguish them from those that have gone before. 

‘The received wisdom is that the sector will have fulfilled its potential when as many as 20% of us are receiving low carbon heating and cooling through heat networks. Announcements like this encourage me to think that it’s a target that is realisable within a generation.’ 

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, adds: ‘The UK is a world leader when it comes to reducing carbon emissions – but we must continue to push the boundaries to reach our net zero goal. 

‘These innovative projects will not only benefit the communities they serve, by reducing emissions and providing low-cost heating that helps to drive down energy bills, but also support the nation’s push for greater energy security and independence.  

‘They form part of our energy revolution – creating hundreds of new jobs for our ever-expanding green economy.’ 

In related news, the Scottish government recently announced £7m funding for green hydrogen.

Photo by TBIT


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