Government announces plans to expand green heating networks

A £19m government investment is expected to supply greener and more affordable low carbon heating for thousands of homes and buildings across the UK.

The funding will go towards setting up five new heat networks in Bristol, Liverpool, London and Worthing, providing households with a more cost-effective alternative to installing individual, energy-intensive heating solutions like gas boilers.

Heat networks supply heat from a central source, such as large rivers or sewers, via a network of underground pipes carrying hot water.

The funding comes from the government’s £320m Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), which supports the development of heat networks across England and Wales.

white radiator heater mounted on white wall

Minister for Climate Change Lord Callanan said: ‘Almost a third of all UK carbon emissions come from heating our homes and addressing this is a vital part of tackling pollution, driving down bills and reducing our reliance on costly fossil fuels. Today’s announcement builds on our commitments made in the Heat and Buildings Strategy to regulate the UK’s heat networks, protect consumers, and create opportunities for green jobs and investment across the country.

‘This will allow thousands of households and businesses to feel the benefits of projects that are breaking new ground and making our villages, towns and cities cleaner places to live and work.’

The government has appointed Ofgem as the heat networks regulator for Great Britain to ensure consumers receive a fair price and reliable supply of heat.

The regulator will be responsible for enforcing rules and guidance on pricing and quality while facilitating the growth and decarbonisation of the market.

Jonathan Brearley, Chief Executive of Ofgem, said: ‘We welcome the government’s announcement that it will appoint Ofgem as the new heat networks regulator. Heat networks can play a key role in reducing carbon emissions from heating and helping to achieve the country’s climate goals.

‘We will work with the government to design a regulatory framework which attracts the investment needed while ensuring heat network consumers, especially those in vulnerable circumstances, receive a fair price and reliable supply of heat for their homes as we make the transition to net zero.’

In related news, over £1m in government funding has been secured by Newcastle City Council to support low-income families to make their homes greener, warmer and cheaper to heat.

Photo by Erik Mclean


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