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Can the new heat network delivery unit provide the key to growing investment in district heating?

Posted by on in Heat 2014
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Last month’s appointment of Stephen Brooks as Investment Director of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) new Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU) marks an important step towards tackling the challenges that face local authorities and developers seeking to develop district heating networks.

Brook’s appointment comes on the back of DECC’s strategy paper on heat, which identified heat networks as a cost effective solution to providing affordable, low carbon heat in urban areas. Heat networks (also called district heating) take hot water from a local ‘energy centre’ through a network of insulated pipes to homes and businesses. Heat networks are usually more efficient compared to many smaller heat units in each building.

The new unit is designed to support local authorities assessing the opportunity for heat networks by providing funding and expertise in the feasibility stages to bring potential projects to a stage of credible commercial development.   

Following the success of pioneering schemes such as Brook’s own Sheffield Heat and Power (he was a founding member) interest around the country is high, with many councils looking to heat networks to help vulnerable householders afford to keep warm whilst reducing emissions.

Having worked on numerous district heating projects during his time as managing director at Ignus Renewable, Brooks is well placed to help councils deliver local energy projects and move towards the potential of up to 20% of the UK’s homes connecting to heat networks.     

But with just 2 years to allocate the £6 million fund, the biggest challenge his team will face is delivering real results quickly. The first round of bidding is already open and it is now over to Brooks and his team to demonstrate the enormous potential that continued investment in heat networks could deliver.

To hear how HNDU will turn the Government’s heat policy strategy in to shovel ready projects, join us and Stephen Brooks at Heat 2013.

Claire Wych is the Communications Officer for the Combined Heat and Power Association. 




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