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  4. Heat strategy heralds new era for district heating investment

Heat strategy heralds new era for district heating investment

12 Apr 2012
  • DECC sets out comprehensive strategy to decarbonise UK’s heat use
  • District heating to spearhead energy re-generation in city and town centres
  • Opportunity for 40,000 new jobs in £2bn p.a. infrastructure investment programme

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has today published the Government’s strategy for heat, identifying pathways for the transition of the UK’s heat supply to low- and zero- carbon energy sources. The Strategy points the way to a major expansion of new district heating networks in the nation’s towns and cities, driving a multi-billion pound investment programme in green infrastructure and creating an additional 40,000 jobs in construction and engineering.

Speaking today at the inaugural conference of the industry’s District Heating & Cooling Group, Group Chairman and Arup Director Malcolm Ball welcomed the announcement:

“Today’s heat strategy places district heating at the heart of the nation’s energy infrastructure renewal, with an investment programme that will rank in scale alongside the re-wiring of Britain’s electricity system. In the coming years we can expect to see billions of pounds committed to this energy regeneration in our towns and cities, bringing growth and jobs to the construction sector and affordable and reliable low-carbon heat to our homes and businesses."

CHPA Director, Graham Meeks, added:

“District heating is the key to decarbonising the nation’s urban heartland at a price that consumers can afford. It is already proving itself to be a practical and popular choice in new housing and property developments, but its greatest value will lie in heating the ‘hard-to-treat’ buildings in our towns and city centres. It is here where energy could spearhead a new era of urban regeneration.

“The Government now needs to throw its shoulder behind its vision, working with the industry to build capacity and attract investment into this vital infrastructure programme.”

Previous Government studies1 have suggested that some 8 million dwellings could be connected to district heating at reasonable cost, in combination with a major share of commercial and public buildings. This level of connections could be achieved through a 25 year capital programme, investing £2bn p.a. in new district heating infrastructure and supporting 40,000 jobs in the construction sector. Through this programme carbon emissions from heating would be halved and reduced to around 9 million tonnes per annum.

Today’s announcement also highlighted the value of district heating networks in supporting the deployment and utilisation of a range of low-carbon energy sources. Networks could adapt to obtain heat from gas-fired CHP plant, biomass and biogas, heat pumps, energy-from-waste, solar thermal, along with heat rejected from industrial processes and power stations. This approach, which is commonplace in continental Europe and Scandinavia, delivers reliability and security to energy users and provides a credible and practical pathway to decarbonisation.


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

Graham Meeks
T 020 7828 4077
M 07802 242498

Notes to editors:

Heat Strategy
The Department of Energy & Climate Change today published its strategy for decarbonising the use of heat. Heat currently accounts for around 50% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Full details of the heat strategy can be found here. Earlier this month, the CHPA published Heat Revolution, which looks at how energy networks will have to develop in order to decarbonise and become more efficient.

National Heat Map
DECC also published today a map of heat demand and supply points across the UK, to help planning authorities and developers coordinate the delivery of district heating projects. Local authorities will be able to use the map as the starting point to developing detailed Energy Master Plans to inform distributed energy policies in their Local Development Frameworks and climate change strategies. Developers can use the map to help them meet local distributed energy needs.

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.

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:


1. The Potential & Costs of District Heating Networks, Poyry and Faber Maunsell (AECOM) for DECC, 2009