Heat networks

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The government needs to set out a strengthened policy framework if its ambition of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year is to be achieved, industry voices have warned. Eon chief executive Michael Lewis said the target will be a “massive but necessary step” towards ending reliance on gas for heating.
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Vattenfall and Midlothian Council have formed a 50:50 joint venture to build heat networks across the area. The first project to delivered under the partnership will be a £20 million network supplying the new town of Shawfair on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
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Town-scale trials are needed to end the energy industry’s “total paralysis” on the decarbonisation of heating, the founder of Greencoat Capital has argued. While conceding that the costs may run into the “hundreds of millions of pounds”, managing director Richard Nourse said the bill would be “pretty skinny” when compared to the amounts that must ultimately be spent to address the issue.
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Featured

Energy Networks Association’s Open Networks Project, which has been engaging with industry to power towards a smarter, low-carbon energy system, has reached some key milestones, says ENA's head of innovation, Randolph Brazier
Comment
Jonathan Westley, of Experian, says utilites have the power to help reduce the number of people excluded from the financial system.
Opinion

Latest in Heat networks

The Heat and Buildings Strategy has finally emerged, alongside a slew of other green policies. In this free-to-download report for the heat market, Utility Week examines the key pledges and timescales enshrined in this much-anticipated blueprint.
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Three possible pathways towards the decarbonisation of the economy have been set out in the Net Zero Strategy. The strategy noted that the three scenarios – high electrification, high resource and high innovation – are only intended to be illustrative, representing a range of practical ways in which net zero could be delivered rather than the mostly likely or preferred solutions.
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All new and large non-domestic buildings may be required to connect to a heat network if they are within a zone earmarked for the communal heating systems, the government has suggested. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has also proposed a four-stage process for the designation of heat network zones, with local authorities taking a leading role.
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National Grid and SSE have unveiled plans to supply heat networks with waste heat captured from electricity network transformers. They said the innovative solution offers a source of zero-carbon heat when applied to transformers powered by renewable electricity and could save millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year if rolled out across National Grid’s 350 transformers.
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SGN has revealed plans to form a 50:50 joint venture with Vital Energi to build and operate low and zero-carbon heat networks around the UK. The networks will supply new and existing residential, commercial and industrial sites, including redundant sites owned by SGN and developments planned by its property arm, SGN place.
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National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has raised its upper projections for the domestic deployment of ground-source heat pumps in the latest iteration of its Future Energy Scenarios. It is now expecting almost 8.7 million ground-source heat pumps to be installed in homes across Great Britain by 2050 in its Consumer Transformation scenario, compared to less than 2.2 million in last year’s figures.
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Most agree that heat networks will have a significant role in the decarbonisation of heating, but despite recent growth they remain a niche technology in the UK. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week looks at how heat zoning could help to change that.
Analysis
What enabling actions are needed to ensure we make best use of data and digitalisation on the road to net zero? A new report from Utility Week and CGI highlights five key requirements.
Analysis
What new pressures on reliability and resilience will tomorrow’s net zero energy system create? Denise Chevin posed the question to participants at a recent Utility Week roundtable in association with S&C Electric.
Analysis
Introducing carbon MOTs for customers’ homes could help with the lack of understanding around the impact domestic heating has on net zero, a new report has suggested. The report, Getting to net zero, by Energy Systems Catapult on behalf of Shell Energy Retail includes new polling which shows just nine per cent of customers plan to switch to low-carbon heating when they replace their current boiler.
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Making the switch to low-carbon heating attractive and accessible to consumers will be a crucial part of achieving net zero. As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Eon boss Michael Lewis, who explains that a combination of the right financial incentives and consumer education will be key to the transition.
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