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Greater flexibility could cut energy system costs by £16.7 billion per year by 2050, according to new research from the Carbon Trust and Imperial College London. The report said flexibility should be embedded into all sectors of the energy system – power, heat and transport – to reduce the impact and cost of their decarbonisation.
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An official for Cambridge City Council has raised concerns over a “headlong rush” towards air-source heat pumps, saying there are “lots of problems” with the technology, particularly within urban areas. Environmental quality and growth manager Jo Dicks made the comments during a discussion of retrofitting as part of Utility Week’s Future of Heat conference.
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Water companies from across the UK as well as supply partners, NGOs and academic groups have been awarded funding for 11 projects from the Ofwat Innovation Fund to tackle shared problems faced by the sector. See the full list as well as the thoughts of Ofwat's John Russell.
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UK Power Networks (UKPN) has launched a new online portal that enables installers to get quicker and easier decisions on whether they can connect green technologies such as electric vehicle chargers, heat pumps, solar panels and batteries. The electricity distribution network said Smart Connect was developed in partnership with Octopus Electric Vehicles in response to feedback from customers, who said the old process was confusing and time-consuming.
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Ground source heat pumps could play much more than the “niche” role in the decarbonisation of heating that is often assumed by policymakers, Regen has argued in a new report. The not-for-profit consultancy said they have significant advantages over their air source equivalents, requiring less electricity both annually and during winter peaks, whilst offering the opportunities to store thermal energy in the ground and utilise sources of waste heat.
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Thames Water and Kingston Council are embarking on a project to capture heat from effluent at a wastewater treatment site and supply it to new housing estate via a district heating network. The network will eventually be expanded to serve public and commercial buildings in Kingston town centre.
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Two semi-detached homes containing appliances fuelled entirely by hydrogen, the first of their kind in the UK, are to be built in Low Thornley, Gateshead. The project is being run by Northern Gas Networks and Cadent, both of which have input £250,000 of funding. It will also be part-funded by the government’s £25 million Hy4Heat Innovation programme.
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Wales and West Utilities and UK Power Networks have begun trialling a new hybrid heating system in seven homes in Wales, London and the south and east of England. The system combines a gas boiler, an electric air-source heat pump and smart control software into a single unit that can be hung on the walls of customers’ homes in place of a conventional gas boiler and switch between using gas and electricity based on their relative cost and carbon emissions.
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Gas networks in Great Britain have released a joint plan for their conversion to deliver hydrogen over the coming years. The roadmap includes proposals to begin blending hydrogen into the gas grid at rates of up 20 per cent from 2023, create the first hydrogen neighbourhood by 2025 and the first hydrogen village and then town by the end of the decade, supported by 5GW of production capacity. Utility Week speaks to the Energy Networks Association's head of gas Matt Hindle about the next steps.
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