Around £9m has been made available by the UK government to local authorities and developers to develop district heating and heating networks that use renewable technologies.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is offering almost £2.4m to 32 local authorities in England and Wales to develop district heating projects through its Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU), which was set up in 2013.
Approximately 2,000 district heating networks already supply heat to 210,000 dwellings and 1,700 non-residential buildings from heat generated at a central source. A further 150 schemes are currently under development by local authorities across the UK. According to estimates, around 15% of UK heat demand could be met by heat networks by 2030 and over 40% by 2050.
The 32 local authorities, which include borough city and district councils, are the third group of successful bidders to be announced. They will be offered grants ranging from around £10,000 to £250,000 to kick-start heat network projects in England. Councils may also receive support and guidance, such as developing business plans.
The government has also launched a £7m competition aimed at developers across the UK for funding to develop new low carbon heat networks technologies, such as recovering industrial heat or energy from waste.
The Heat Networks Demonstration Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) aims to stimulate innovation to demonstrate the integration of innovative technologies and techniques on district networks and address some of the existing cost and performance issues.