The UK Government has launched a consultation on its strategy for decarbonising heat to which it is seeking responses from industry.

The consultation is set to have an impact on the combined heat and power sector.

Ed Davey
This is the second consultation on the topic in three years; the last one resulted in the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Green Deal. This one attempts to envisage how the market will be transformed as a result, and as part of the goal of supplying 15 per cent of UK energy from renewables by 2020, according to Energy and Environmental Management online.

Launching the consultation, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey spoke of the need to cut emissions from the way we generate heat and said that many towns, cities and communities across the UK are already switching from fossil fuels to low carbon forms of heating like biomass, heat pumps and solar thermal.

“I want to give the opportunity to others to follow the pioneers,” he said, “so that in time, our buildings are no longer dependent on burning fossil fuels for heat but using affordable and reliable alternatives to help create a flourishing, competitive low carbon manufacturing industry.”

The document notes that such networks can be the most effective way of supplying low carbon heat to buildings, offering the benefit of flexibility, since a number of different heat sources, such as biomass and gas boilers, combined heat and power (CHP) plants and heat from energy-from-waste plants, can supply the same network.

However, they have a high upfront cost due to the need to install the pipework, and to their dependence on municipal vision. Hence, although widespread in Europe, there are a few examples in this country, exceptions being Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Southampton and a new project in Newcastle which is to be supplied from geothermal heat.

Nottingham’s one of the largest district heating networks in the UK, with a 65km network serving over 4,600 homes and 100 businesses and public sector properties; roughly 3.5 per cent of the city’s entire heat consumption.

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