DECC awards £6m to heat network innovators

Nine heat network projects from across the UK will receive a share of £6m as part of a competition run by the Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

DECC’s Heat Network Small Business Initiative announced nine winners of the funding last week. The competition’s aim is to support progress in the heating industry to ensure more homes across the UK can be heated for less, while also looking to improve efficiency and reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.

By improving the uptake of heat networks – which supply heat energy to buildings from a central source on a communal level – DECC hopes to encourage the development of renewable heat sources.

The projects, which range from using smart systems to identify performance problems to heat recovery from data centres, will be under testing until March 2016. The round of funding takes the projects through to the second phase of the competition.

At the Association for Decentralised Energy’s (ADE) president’s reception, ADE director Dr Tim Rotheray said: “Investment in innovation is a vital step for shaping a more local, less wasteful energy system that will work for the user.

“Through this investment in heat networks, we have a real opportunity to put the energy user at the centre of the energy system helping them to manage bills while also reducing carbon.”

Driving down bills

DECC’s grants will help identify new technologies that could play a central role in meeting the UK’s heat demand. The UK is still a long way from achieving its aim of 25% heating demand from low-carbon sources by 2030, which currently accounts for 32% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable heat network company Zero received a government grant of £378,780. Zero managing director Finian Parrick said: “This is brilliant news, as it means our development team can move forward with our project to encourage the use of heat networks and to help drive down energy bills and boost low carbon heat supplies in the UK.

“We are passionate about advancing low carbon heating technologies and this grant will help us to do exactly that.”

There are approximately 2,000 heat networks in the UK at present, supplying heat to 210,000 households.

Matt Field

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