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  4. ENA heat report sees ‘widespread expansion’ of heat networks

ENA heat report sees ‘widespread expansion’ of heat networks

17 Oct 2012
  • Heat networks essential in all future scenarios for heating the UK
  • Networks must grow from heating 1% of homes, to around 30%
  • Minister sees great opportunity in decentralised approach to energy

Today’s report on domestic heating for the Electricity Networks Association has highlighted the essential role of heat networks in meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets, whilst keeping options open during a period of major transition.

All scenarios analysed by the report identified the need for an expansion of district heating in the UK from serving around 1% of homes currently, to around 30% by 2050. This follows the publication of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)’s heat strategy earlier in the year, which found significant potential for heat networks on industrial and commercial sites, ultimately meeting up to 50% of the UK’s demand for heat.

The report, prepared by Delta Energy & Environment, stresses the need to keep options open in policies to decarbonise heat. An intrinsic characteristic of heat networks is that they provide cost and efficiency benefits regardless of the heat sources that are connected to them. This provides a future-proofed, ‘no regrets’ approach that allows heat to be decarbonised over time, whilst preserving flexibility over energy sources. The report makes clear that whichever route the UK decides to go down, district heating needs to play a ‘massive role’ in reaching the nation’s decarbonisation and energy security goals.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Rt. Hon. Greg Barker MP, the DECC minister responsible for the Government’s heat strategy, stressed the benefits of tackling the question of heat supply:

“We should see this as a great opportunity for the UK; an opportunity to diversify our sources of heat, make our processes more efficient and our companies more competitive, to develop our cities and towns in sustainable ways that prepare us for a low carbon future.

He also reflected a key theme of the report, that heat must be considered as a central element of energy market reforms:

“We should not look at heat as separate from the wider energy security and electricity market questions we are tackling. We have to consider the entire energy system. And we have to look at local decentralised approaches so that markets do not remain dominated by a small number of very large players.”

Graham Meeks, Director of the UK district heating industry’s trade association, CHPA, commented:

“It is well understood that to remain competitive and meet our environmental commitments, the UK must radically overhaul how heat is delivered to homes and businesses. It is very welcome that DECC has recognised the flexibility and greater efficiency offered by using heat networks, but the scale of the challenge must not be underestimated. Infrastructure investments such as this require a different form of support to heat and electricity generation, and we need a framework that facilitates the pace of development required. It is vital too, that the Government and industry work together to build the trust and confidence of consumers in this new and beneficial approach to heating.”



For further information or to request an interview, please contact:

Graham Meeks
Director, CHPA
T 020 7828 4077
M 07802 242498

Tim Rotheray
Head of Policy, CHPA
T 020 7828 4077
M 07540 982014

Notes to editors:

2050 Pathways for Domestic Heat report
The Electricity Networks Association (ENA)'s Gas Futures Group commissioned a report analyse the UK’s housing stock in a detailed way looking at how the various heating technologies currently available could be effectively deployed. ENA describe the report as "the most comprehensive domestic heat study ever undertaken", building on the Redpoint work ENA published two years ago. More information and the full report can be found here.

About CHP
Combined heat and power (CHP), integrates the production of usable heat and power (electricity), in one single, highly efficient process. Delivering a minimum of 10% energy savings, it makes the very best use of renewable and fossil fuels. This efficiency means less stress on precious fuel resources and lower carbon emissions. CHP works by recovering heat from the power generation process and putting it to work in industry, buildings and homes, often delivering significant cost and CO2 savings. CHP currently provides 7% of UK electricity and in 2010 provided emissions savings of 13 million tonnes of CO2. For more information about CHP, click here.

About the CHPA
The Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) is the leading advocate of an integrated approach to delivering energy services using combined heat and power and district heating. The Association has over 100 members active across a range of technologies and markets and is widely recognised as one of the leading industry bodies in the sustainable energy sector. For more information about the CHPA see:

About District Heating
A district heating scheme comprises a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat from the point of generation, in the form of hot water or steam, to an end user. District heating networks provide the means to transport heat efficiently. Heat networks can be supplied with heat from a diverse range of sources including power stations, waste-to-energy facilities, biomass boilers and CHP plants, gas-fired CHP units, heat pumps, electric boilers and even solar thermal arrays. Click here for more information about district heating and here for case studies.