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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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 next phase of the net zero transition will require strong public engagement and consent. However, new reports from Citizens Advice highlight that consumer markets are not ready for the change. Gillian Cooper, the charity's head of energy policy, says if the sector does not make it easier for people to upgrade their homes, the transition will be unsuccessful.
Comment
Centrica’s aim to reduce its emissions to net zero by 2045 show the “tide is turning” for energy businesses, an industry observer has said. Alongside the company's latest financial update were plans for the business to achieve net zero emissions five years ahead of the UK’s national target.
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Working closely with local authorities on their zero carbon plans has put Electricity North West in a stronger position as it draws up its own business proposals in the run up to ED2, says CEO Peter Emery. Denise Chevin reports
Interviews
Vattenfall will explore opportunities to anchor heat networks to Viridor’s fleet of energy-from-waste plants under a new partnership formed by the two firms. The Swedish energy company said this approach is common in Europe where it already works with operators to capture heat from energy-from-waste facilities and pipe warmth to the surrounding communities.
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Fuel Poverty Action is urging the government to bring forward planned consumer protections for the customers of heat networks this winter. In a letter to energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng the charity urges the government to bring forward arrangements for compensation when district heating breaks down and to upgrade networks which repeatedly fail, on an emergency basis.
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The procrastination around tackling high-carbon home heat must end if we are serious about reaching net zero, says Juliet Davenport, founder of Good Energy. Writing for Utility Week, she gives some suggestions for kickstarting the process and says the government should seriously consider funding low-carbon heating through gas bills.
Opinion
The Green Finance Institute has launched a Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce to design and implement financing mechanisms to help facilitate the rapid adoption of green heating technologies. The taskforce has been drawn from members of the Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings and includes representatives from academia and civil society, local and national government and the financial, energy and construction sectors.
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Good Energy has revealed plans to launch what it claimed will be the UK’s first energy tariff designed specifically with heat pumps in mind.  The Wiltshire-based renewable energy supplier believes the new offering will complement the government’s new £2 billion Green Home Grants announced by the chancellor last month.
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A major new report published this week sets out a huge scale of opportunity for city authorities to drive the green agenda and a potential £100 billion in local energy projects. Denise Chevin digests the report’s findings and the net zero plans for four local authorities it spotlights.
Analysis
Centrica has called for the installation of one million heat pumps over the next five years as part of the green economic recovery. It has urged the government to bring forward the full Future Homes Standard (FHS) by three years to 2021, as well as phasing into 2025 a scrappage scheme for oil boilers. The company has published a three-point plan which includes a series of measures it believes will help restart the post-Covid economy in line with its net-zero emissions commitment.
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