Projects win £40m funding for heat networks projects

The UK Government has published a consultation on heat networks in advance of dedicated legislation and awarded £40m to seven projects in the first and second round of funding through the Heat Network Investment Project.

Heat networks deliver cost effective, low carbon heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from a central point of generation to the end user through a network of insulated pipes. There are already around 500,000 customers receiving heat through heat networks, equating to around 14,000 heat networks. The CCC (Committee on Climate Change) has set a target to grow this to serve 1.5m home in 2030, making £320m available in funding through the Heat Network Investment Project to grow the industry.

Meanwhile,the Scottish Government has released its budget, inclusive of business rates relief guaranteed until 2032, to provide investor certainty and committed to £50mn for the Heat Networks Early Adopters Challenge Fund.

Ian Calvert, director of the Association for Decentralised Energy, said: “For too long, the heat sector has played second fiddle in the fight against climate change, overlooked for more familiar technologies like electric cars and wind turbines. The announcement that the Government will bring forward its consultation on heat networks is most welcome. We are delighted to see £40m invested in seven projects that will bring jobs and unleash investment up and down the country. Business rates relief is a crucial step towards levelling the playing field on the rates and fees levied on heat networks compared to other essential utilities.” Significantly, these announcements signal the considerable potential that heat decarbonisation can make to reaching the net zero target. The Heat Network Industry Council, which the ADE has been convening, will release its offer to Government shortly and this consultation sets a strong direction for industry and Government working together to grow this underrated sector.

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