Organisations across England are set to benefit from greener heating as a £288m government funding scheme is opened, boosting the roll out of next generation heat network projects as part of plans to cut emissions.
Schemes that will deliver clean heating to homes, offices, commercial and public buildings will be able to apply for grants to the Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) over the next three years.
The government said this will allow more towns and cities across England to take up this tried and tested technology and is expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 5.6 million cars off the road for a year.
Heat networks offer carbon emissions savings by supplying heat to buildings from a central source, avoiding the need for households and workplaces to rely on individual, energy-intensive heating solutions, such as gas boilers.
The government said the funding will support the uptake of low carbon technologies like heat pumps, solar and geothermal energy as a central heating source.
Applications for round one of GHNF will be open to public, private and third sector applicants in England from 14 March and will close on 27 May 2022, with the scheme anticipated to run to 2025.
Commenting, Energy Minister, Lord Callanan said:
“Heating in buildings forms a significant part of the UK’s carbon footprint, so changing how we warm our homes and workspaces is vital to meeting our world-leading climate change commitments.
“Heat networks are an effective way of reducing carbon emissions and this fund will enable us to accelerate the roll-out of these cutting-edge and green technologies.”
The scheme is also expected to fund the delivery of an estimated 9.7 million tonnes of total carbon savings by 2050.
This has led to the independent Climate Change Committee estimating that, with continued support, heat networks could meet nearly 20% of overall UK demand for heating by 2050.
CEO of the Association for Decentralised Energy, Lily Frencham added:
“We’re delighted that the government is invigorating the transition to zero carbon heating across the UK that uses good old-fashioned pipes and water to transport heat from green energy centres to homes and businesses.
“Heat networks offer the most cost-effective tried and tested way of decarbonising our towns and cities and it is great to see government’s continued support for the sector through the launch of the Green Heat Network Fund.
“Heat networks have a critical role to play in the UK’s net zero future, and 2022 will be a crucial year for the heat networks sector.”
The Green Heat Network Fund is the successor scheme to the government’s Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), which has provided more than £250m of funding for schemes across England and Wales since 2018.
More than 20 heat network projects have received HNIP funding, including two schemes in the North-East of England, which source their heat from water in abandoned mine shafts.
Elsewhere, a community-led project in Cambridgeshire, which could be a model for other rural communities seeking to decarbonise their heating, was set up due to the funding.