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New UK Heat Networks Investment Project scheme to launch in the Autumn

The UK government has announced a new scheme for consumers and non-domestic users such as hospitals, schools, and council buildings to participate in a "trailblazing" heat networks scheme. The GBP320 million (≈ EUR 363.6 million) Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) will offer grants and loans to both the public and private sectors in England and Wales, for networks serving two or more buildings. The scheme is due to open for applications later this Autumn.

Widely used in Nordic-Baltic countries, heat networks distribute heat efficiently through insulated pipes from a central source to a variety of different customers. According to a statement from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), flat residents could reduce heating costs by as much as 30 percent on a heat network than alternatives such as individual gas boilers. As well as lowering bills for domestic and non-domestic consumers, they can reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.

Furthermore, heat networks could play a vital role in the long-term decarbonisation of heating, as they provide a unique opportunity to exploit larger scale renewable and recoverable heat sources. Heat networks could meet up to 17 percent of the UK heat demand in homes and up to 24 percent of heat demand in industrial and public sector buildings by 2050.

There are already a number of successful heat network projects already operating in the UK such as one in Sheffield which uses 12 000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually as the main fuel source for its network. Or Southampton’s main energy centre which has over 45 energy users ranging from over 1 000 residential properties, a hospital, university, shopping centre, police headquarters, and BBC studios.

The UK has led in the decarbonisation of electricity, and today’s announcement shows we are just as committed to tackling heat. Today’s announcement creates a route to market for innovative energy projects across the country and demonstrates a key objective of the Clean Growth Strategy; to help deliver technologies that can lower bills, cut carbon and improve the quality of life for communities across the country, said Energy Minister Claire Perry

The announcement coincides with the publication of high level guidelines for the main scheme, as well as starting the process to find a delivery partner. Applications are expected to open in the Autumn with first funding decisions being made in 2019.

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