The government has confirmed a new round of funding to help local authorities recycle excess heat.
24 local authorities across England and Wales have been awarded more than £2.1m to support the development of heat network projects. Each project is designed to provide more efficient heating to buildings, which can help to drive down consumers’ heating bills and reduce emissions.
As part of the funding, councils will be given commercial and technical support and guidance, including assistance in developing robust business plans to help attract commercial investment to supply heat efficiently and cost-effectively to homes and businesses.
Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “This is another step the coalition government is taking to help drive down the long term cost of energy bills. Heat networks are a defining part of our smarter, cleaner energy future.
“Local authorities are looking at innovative ways to supply low carbon heat to a range of buildings such as multi-storey apartments, office buildings and social housing.”
Since the first round of funding at the end of January 2014, interest from local communities has grown with more than 50 local authorities so far receiving grants ranging from £15,000 to £250,000 each.
This timely announcement comes ahead of the launch of the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme, which will offer households that install renewable energy technologies payments based on how much energy they produce.
Commenting on the news, Jerry Hamilton, director of renewables at Rexel UK, said “Today’s confirmation of funding for the renewable heat network project will help to instil much needed confidence in the continued backing and growth of the market.
“There is huge potential in technologies such as heat pumps and solar thermal, and hopefully projects such as these will highlight the innovative ways they can be utilised.
“This is a step in the right direction, however, there’s a lot more education and infrastructure development that will need to happen before we move to mass adoption.”