Enfield Council is now supplying heat to new homes in Arnos Grove, the first of its heat networks.
The council’s energy company, Energetik, plans to supply some 15,000 homes and businesses in north London via a series of heat networks. Some of these will use waste heat from industrial parks, while others use CHP and gas-fired boilers.
The launch comes almost seven years since Enfield started to draw up plans for an energy company to deliver heat networks, with Energetik subsequently incorporated in 2015.
Three other heat networks are being developed around the borough in regeneration areas, including estate redevelopments at Ponders End and Oakwood, with connections starting next year.
Meanwhile, from 2019, new homes on the £6bn Meridian Water regeneration scheme will be supplied by Energetik and council hopes to connect new customers to all of its networks where demand exists, potentially in future connecting up the Arnos Grove and Ponders End networks with the Meridian Water scheme.
While some of the UK’s legacy heat networks have been dogged by performance and quality issues, the company thinks its design standards will stand the test of time.
“It’s an interesting time for the heat network industry, as it remains unregulated but is set to expand rapidly over the coming years,” said managing director, Jayne Clare.
“Community heat networks can be a fantastic way of providing efficient, environmentally friendly energy but unfortunately there are a lot of examples out there of schemes that don’t live up to expectations.”
“Energetik’s heat networks are designed to a far higher standard than what’s usual for the UK market,” she claimed, with redundancy and reliability “at every stage … from installing multiple back-up systems in our energy centres, to increasing insulation on above-ground pipework to reduce heat loss, to extended testing and commissioning to make sure everything works as it should before residents move in,” said Clare.
“We take the time to meet with our customers face-to-face to help them understand the system, as it’s new for most of them. None of this is rocket science but many of these aspects are often overlooked or rushed in private-sector schemes, and their customers end up suffering as a result.”
Combined with council backing, that should enable “sustainable and adaptable energy infrastructure that can continue growing over decades”, said Clare.
“We want to protect our customers in a market that’s still unregulated, focusing on giving them a great service that’s reliable and good value. The fact that we can do this while improving air quality and giving benefits back to the council is a win-win.”
The council is working with Vital Energi, with whom it signed a 12 year framework last summer, alongside Switch2 for infrastructure and services. It is funded by the European Investment Bank, the Mayor of London, the European Regional Development Fund and the London Energy Efficiency Fund.