The second stage of the £320 million Heat Networks Investment Project has now opened to applications, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced.

Developers are being offered grants up to £5 million and loans of up to £10 million to help get their projects over the line. The government is aiming to unlock around £1 billion of investment using the “gap funding”.

“The UK has led in the decarbonisation of electricity and we are equally committed to tackling heat,” said a BEIS spokesperson.

“The Heat Networks Investment Project has created a route to market for innovative energy projects across the country and demonstrates a key objective of the Clean Growth Strategy – to deliver technologies that lower bills, cut carbon and improve the quality of life for communities across the country.”

Up to £39 million was made available to public sector organisations for an initial pilot stage launched in October 2016.

Nine local authority projects were awarded a total of £24 million the following April, with the figure later falling to £18.5 million after one project was cancelled. The leftover funding from the pilot was returned to the main pot.

The second stage of the programme is open to developers of all types. They will need to submit pre-applications by 5 March to take part in the first funding round. The deadline for full applications is 5 April and funding will be allocated later in the spring.

Subsequent rounds will be held on a quarterly basis until the scheme closes.

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