A new project to design, build and operate combined heat and power (CHP)-based district heating networks is set to get underway in the UK.

The project is a joint venture between renewables investment fund Low Carbon and Energy Networks Europe (ENE), a consortium that includes construction firm Urbis Living and CHP project developer First Generation Ltd.

Low Carbon announced this week that it has now acquired a majority stake in ENE and the first project is set to begin as part of an urban regeneration project in co-ordination with Bristol City Council. Low Carbon said the project will involve building a replicable, scalable development and financing model for CHP-based district heating networks across the UK.

Construction is expected to begin in Q4 of this year, with the first heat offtake expected in Q3 of 2017.

While Low Carbon primarily invests in utility-scale projects including solar photovoltaics (PV), wind, concentrated solar power (CSP) and battery energy storage, the company says it aims to diversify its portfolio based on the potential and opportunity of CHP and district heating.

Steve Mack, head of investments at Low Carbon, said: ‘It’s a truly exciting time to be investing in the heating and CHP market. Heating is the largest part of the energy demand in the UK, compromising an estimated 78% of UK consumer energy bills which have rocketed by 170% over the last 10 years. Furthermore, heating is also the largest contributor to CO2 levels emitted in the UK.

‘The future lies in well-designed and planned CHP plants which will provide lower energy costs for consumers, contribute to local and national energy security, and ultimately help in reducing carbon emissions.’