The UK is witnessing green shoots of a decentralized energy revolution, says the UK CHP Association, as local authorities in particular increasingly seek to follow the lead of European leaders in developing schemes using CHP and district heating networks.

According to Ian Manders, Deputy Director of the CHPA: ‘There is no doubt that the interest central government has shown in decentralized energy is feeding through to the highest number of district heating and CHP projects we have seen in years. The recent government Homes and Communities Agency announcement of £25 million for district heating schemes, and the £100 million funding secured by London last week – for the development of decentralized energy projects – serve as good examples of how decentralized energy and district heating is developing in the UK.’

UK carbon targets are feeding through into policy initiatives. For example, local authorities in England are now required to plan for sustainable energy opportunities – this means heat mapping at least, with an accompanying policy of requiring builders to install a district heating system as part of new development, says the CHPA.

These moves have been reflected in an increase in membership of the CHPA – the size of the Association’s Distributed Energy Services Forum has more than double since 2005.

The increase in activity will be reflected in CHPA’s forthcoming annual conference on 25 November in London. As the sector develops, so new challenges arise, and these are addressed in the wide-ranging seminars that are part of the conference. The CHPA is also organising a seminar on 20 November, also in London, on how to adopt CHP and DH across the public estate.