£2m awarded for local authority low carbon heat networks

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More homes and businesses could soon be heated by a range of low carbon technologies, including energy from waste or heat taken from landfill.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey announced today.

26 local authorities across England and Wales have been awarded over £1.9 million to support the development of heat network projects, designed to provide more efficient heat to buildings and potentially lower heating bills, through the Government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit.

These projects represent the first wave of successful bidders to be announced under the Government’s drive to promote the development of heat networks, also known as district heating. Estimates show that 14% of UK heat demand could be cost effectively met by heat networks by 2030 and around 43% by 2050.

Winning local authorities will receive grants ranging from £15,000 to £250,000 each to kick-start heat network projects. Councils will also be given commercial and technical help, including assistance in developing robust business plans, which can be used to attract commercial investment to supply heat efficiently and cost-effectively to homes and businesses.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

“In urban areas, people are often used to sharing their walls and their roofs with their neighbours – and it can make good sense for them to share the way their homes are heated.

“This cash boost and support for local authorities will help supply low carbon heat to a whole range of buildings such as multi-story apartments, office buildings and social housing – not only providing more efficient heat to buildings, but potentially bringing heating bills down too.”

All bids were reviewed by a panel of engineering, financial and commercial experts with significant experience in heat networks development. Bids were assessed against a range of criteria including technical feasibility, commercial viability, future carbon saving and social benefits.

The remaining pot of grant funding, worth £7m in total, will be allocated through subsequent funding rounds, running to March 2015. The successful second round of local authorities will be announced by the end of March 2014.

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