Britain’s embrace of low-emissions heat networks is set to warm further, fuelled by £19.1 million of new support from Whitehall announced late last month.

Piped systems heating homes in Liverpool, London, Bristol and Worthing will benefit from the funds, part of D-BEIS’s £320 million Heat Networks Investment Project.

With 14,000 networks across Britain, heat systems are a ubiquitous, un-glamourous, but growing Cinderella of carbon-free warmth, with potential to be delivered at scale.  Waste heat from industrial processes vie with geothermal and geological sources as energy sources. Government stats classify 2,000 of those 14,000 as multi-premise heat networks.

Against a background of impending soaring rises in domestic bills, climate change minister Lord Callahan vaunted the announcement’s likely effect in driving down energy costs for consumers.

“(This) announcement builds on our commitments made in the Heat and Buildings Strategy to regulate the UK’s heat networks, protect consumers, and create opportunities for green jobs and investment across the country,” the minister said.

“This will allow thousands of households and businesses to feel the benefits of projects that are breaking new ground and making our villages, towns and cities cleaner places to live and work.”

Heat networks’ growing importance in UK clean energy was signalled by the announcement’s appointment of Ofgem as the sector’s regulator.

As part of the government’s new Heat Networks Market Framework, Ofgem is tasked to increase investor confidence and guide the market in reducing the carbon footprint from heating homes and workspaces.

D-BEIS also confirmed Citizens Advice will be appointed the official consumer advocacy body for the growing heat network market.

Bristol gets two new networks under the announcement.   More details here.


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