Heat networks in England and Wales receive £3.5m funding


Round four of the government’s Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) has awarded £3.5m to 20 local authorities, housing associations, NHS trusts, universities and private sector organisations.

According to a statement, the funding aims to improve the performance of heat networks, so they can provide better services to their customers, increased efficiency and reduced energy costs.

This latest announcement of £3.5m is expected to positively impact 25 heat networks across England and Wales, it noted. It is set to benefit 5,700 residents, including students, hospital patients and other private and public sector occupants, the statement added. This brings the total funding awarded under HNES to over £28m. The news comes as the scheme celebrates its one-year anniversary since opening for applications in February 2023.

Furthermore, capital grant funding is expected to result in annual carbon savings of over 422 tCO2e per year over the next 40 years, a statement said. This is equivalent to removing the annual emissions of 172 diesel-powered cars, or 6,883 across 40 years. Revenue grant funding will also enable optimisation studies, it cited, identifying opportunities for additional carbon savings in the coming years.

Swan Housing, an East London and Essex-based housing association, is among the recipients, being awarded almost £700,000 from HNES for the Bow Cross Estate heat network in Tower Hamlets. The funding is set to benefit 543 residents, it noted, enabling improvements to the network’s efficiency levels. HNES stated that its support aims to reduce heat losses, providing greater comfort and improved resilience, particularly for low income, vulnerable residents and those at risk of fuel poverty.

HNES is part of the government’s broader Heat Network Transformation Programme (HNTP), focusing on developing new heat networks and improving existing ones. This will aim to encourage further investment in the sector and ramp up the UK’s decarbonisation efforts, the statement added. The scheme provides both capital and revenue funding to optimise inefficient heat networks.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: “Customers living on heat networks need to get the regular, reliable heating and hot water they are entitled to.

“This important funding will help upgrade inefficient systems, preventing breakdowns and using less energy, while allowing customers to reduce their energy bills and keep their homes warm. It’s part of our plan to ensure every home in the country can cut their energy use and save money on their bills.”

Louise Singleton, principal consultant at Gemserv, added: “We’re pleased to announce the success of Round 4, with a significant funding allocation of £3.5m, just as we celebrate the scheme’s one year anniversary.

“The diverse range of projects funded in this round is something we are particularly proud of, with the funding set to deliver heightened heat network efficiency for residents in social housing, those within the NHS and students at universities across England and Wales.

“Funding delivered under HNES plays a crucial role in supporting the transformation of older heat networks into resilient, low carbon heating solutions, strategically preparing for upcoming sector regulations in 2025.”

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