Schemes in East London, Bradford, Rotherham, Cornwall, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and Reading have secured a £91 million share of the fund.
The GHNF provides grant support for the development of new and existing low and zero carbon heat networks in England, which will provide long-term sustainable and energy-efficient heating and hot water for residents whilst helping to reduce consumer’s energy bills.
A range of technologies will be deployed, highlighting heat networks’ versatility and applicability to various use cases.
Creating a blueprint for others to follow
The funding will support many low carbon technologies, including waste heat extraction from energy centres and biomass plants, ground source and air source heat pumps, and the UK’s first deep geothermal project. It is expected that the use of this innovative heat source will provide a blueprint for others to follow.
Each network has been designed to address sustainable, low-carbon transitions locally, supporting communities and businesses whilst collectively driving the UK towards its 2050 net zero target.
Ken Hunnisett, programme director for Triple Point HeatNetworks Investment Management, said:
“Heat networks have long since been a vital part of the UK’s lowest cost pathway to net zero, but it’s the step-change in scale and ambition of these projects, and those that are expected to follow them, that distinguish them from those that have gone before.
“The received wisdom is that the sector will have fulfilled its potential when as many as 20% of us are receiving low carbon heating and cooling through heat networks. Announcements like this encourage me to think that it’s a target that is realisable within a generation.
“We are excited to work with the talented teams from Cornwall to London and Reading to Rotherham to help them deliver on their plans – including their express commitment to market transformation at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Continuing to push the boundaries
Lord Callanan, minister for energy efficiency and green finance, said: “The UK is a world leader when it comes to reducing carbon emissions – but we must continue to push the boundaries to reach our net zero goal.
“These innovative projects will not only benefit the communities they serve, by reducing emissions and providing low-cost heating that helps to drive down energy bills, but also support the nation’s push for greater energy security and independence.
“They form part of our energy revolution – creating hundreds of new jobs for our ever-expanding green economy.”
The following Councils have been awarded GHNF funding:
East London Energy has been awarded £1.76 million from GHNF for constructing an extension to their existing district energy network in East London to a site in Pudding Mill Lane.
1Energy Group has been awarded £20 million for the construction of the construction and commercialisation of a heat network to deliver clean district heating across Bradford, utilising a large air source heat pump (ASHP), the largest installation in the UK so far.
1Energy Group has also been awarded over £25 million from GHNF for commercialising and constructing the Rotherham Energy Network to deliver heat across Rotherham Town Centre.
Cornwall Council has been awarded over £22 million from GHNF for commercialising and constructing the Langarth District Heat Network, providing green heat from the UK’s first deep geothermal project.
Kirklees Council has been awarded over £8 million for commercialising and constructing the Huddersfield District Energy Network. Excess heat will be recovered from an existing Energy-from-Waste (EfW) plant and distributed to public and private sector buildings.
The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been awarded £12 million for the construction of the Goole District Heat Network, which will recover waste heat from a local industrial source in the area for use in residential, commercial, and industrial sites.
Reading University has been awarded £2.2 million to expand and decarbonise their energy centre at the Whiteknights campus, upgrading the current CHP-led network to a low carbon open loop ground source heat pump.
Summary of the schemes to be awarded funding
Pudding Mill Lane
East London Energy (ELE), owned and operated by Equans, has received funding of over £1.76 million from the Green Heat Network Fund. The award will enable the extension of the network to two new sites in the Pudding Mill Lane area, supported by installing a heat pump at the Stratford City Energy Centre, which will be operational in June 2023.
The new extension will deliver 2.7GWh per year of low carbon heating and hot water to new developments, which are anticipated to require heat from 2024.
The new low carbon heat will be generated by installing a Water Source Heat Pump, extracting waste heat from the existing energy centre, and sleeving this directly to new developments. This extension will enable the growth of the network around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park area.
An additional 750 swellings are to be connected to the network with the extension, a 14% increase with the help of funding from GHNF.
James Graham, divisional CEO for Equans UK & Ireland, said: “The funding from the Green Heat Network Fund has allowed us to invest in delivering low carbon heat from 2023 and unlock further growth of the network. Existing district heat networks will play an instrumental role in the energy transition and it’s fantastic that the government has recognised this and reinforced our decarbonisation efforts at ELE by supporting with the funds for the heat pump, the first step on moving away from fossil fuels and delivering our net zero by 2035 commitment.”
1Energy Group has received over £20 million of funding for commercialising and constructing the Bradford Energy network, a city-wide heat network supplied by large Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP). This will deliver low carbon heating and hot water to residential connections and 34 non-domestic buildings, including many iconic heritage buildings across the city. The ASHP will be the largest installation in the UK so far, enabling buildings to decarbonise quickly and cost-effectively.
The low carbon source will deliver most of the required annual heat demand while helping Bradford deliver on its net zero aims. Operation is planned for early 2025.
Jeremy Bungey, founder and director of 1Energy, added: “1Energy is delighted to have been awarded GHNF grant to develop a substantial heat network across the city of Bradford, which will form the backbone of the city’s decarbonisation plans.
“Given the important role Bradford played in the Industrial Revolution, it feels very fitting that the city will be at the forefront of the energy revolution. The support of the Government has also enabled us and our partners to expand our businesses to meet expected growth, a real home-grown success story.”
1Energy Group has also been awarded over £25 million for the construction of the Rotherham Energy Network (REN), a low carbon heat network which will extract heat from a range of local heat sources via 8MW of large heat pumps to supply heat and hot water to residents and businesses, including public sector buildings, in and around Rotherham Town Centre.
The network will deliver 43.2GWh of heat in phase 1 using an 8MW heat pump. The network is expected to be fully operational in 2027, with the first heat provision in early 2025.
Jeremy Bungey, founder and director of 1Energy, added: “1Energy is delighted to have been awarded a GHNF grant to develop a substantial heat network across Rotherham town centre. Rotherham MBC have really exciting regeneration plans to transform and revitalise the area. We’re looking forward to working in partnership with them and other local stakeholders to deliver a sustainable heating solution people can be proud of.”
Cornwall Council has been awarded over £22 million from GHNF for commercialising and constructing the Langarth District Heat Network – the first network connecting developments across Cornwall to the United Downs Deep Geothermal Project, approximately 5km away. The geothermal heat source will be the first of its kind in the UK and is set to be operational in 2026.
The heat source will deliver on the network’s heat demand in the region of 50GWh/year and is expected to provide green energy to a new 3,800-unit development and Royal Cornwall Hospital, with the potential for further connections in the future. Along with the new development, up to 26MW/h per year of existing commercial gas-fired heating could be replaced in the Three milestone area in addition to the new homes.
The United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project produces power and heat from the hot granite rocks beneath Cornwall and the United Downs Industrial Site, drilling to a depth of 5,275 metres.
The network’s construction phase will help create around 100 full-time jobs, whilst the longer-term maintenance and operation will open up 18 permanent FTE roles.
Councillor David Harris, Cornwall council portfolio holder for resources said:
“The Green Heat Network Fund award will contribute to the success of Langarth Garden Village and Cornwall Council’s mission to work with communities for a carbon neutral Cornwall, where everyone can start well, live well and age well.
“This heat network will be a concrete example to others around the United Kingdom of how local and national government working together with the private sector can make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Kirklees – Huddersfield
Kirklees Council has been awarded over £8 million for commercialising and constructing the Huddersfield District Energy Network. The heat network will recover excess heat from Huddersfield’s existing Energy-from-Waste (EfW) plant. The heat will be distributed through a network of underground pipes to be used for heating and hot water across public and private sector buildings.
The heat network is expected to deliver 7.6GWh of heat in its first year, rising to 14.2GWh and 21.7GWh in its second and third years. The network will go towards helping Kirklees Council reach its goals for net zero carbon emissions by 2038 and is being designed with ambition for potential future expansion and connection to other heat sources.
The innovative heat network will also benefit Huddersfield by creating jobs within the local area to help deliver the scheme.
Kirklees Councillor Naheed Mather, cabinet member for the environment and Kirklees councillor Will Simpson, cabinet member for culture and Greener Kirklees, said:
“District Energy Networks, also known as Heat Networks, are widely recognised as one of the most effective ways of decarbonising the local heat supply in built up urban areas.
“We recognise the challenges of a changing climate facing the district and are making changes and have set targets of becoming Net Zero and ‘climate ready’ by 2038 for the benefit of Kirklees residents, its wildlife, landscape and biodiversity.
“The scale of the Huddersfield District Energy Network (HDEN) would contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of Huddersfield Town Centre and our 2038 targets. It will also provide the town with greater energy resilience and control over the local heat supply along with the potential for future expansion”.
Goole – East Riding of Yorkshire
Goole, East Yorkshire, has been awarded £12 million for constructing the Goole District Heat Network, recovering waste heat from a local industrial source.
The network is expected to provide heat to a mixture of residential, commercial, and industrial sites from 2024, facilitating the decarbonisation of public and private sector buildings in and around Goole. Once completed, the scheme will deliver 322,000 tonnes of carbon savings across 40 years of operation.
The scheme will use 2 heat recovery boilers and a back-up air-to-water heat exchanger fitted to a duct of excavated hot air. In addition to this, the Goole District Heat Network has enabled an additional 40 jobs to work on the scheme within the local area.
Commenting on the scheme, Alan Manzies, executive director of planning and economic regeneration at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, added:
“We declared a climate emergency back in 2021, which has placed a significant focus on sustainability and climate change across the organisation. The supply of cleaner, lower cost heat will not only reduce the Council’s carbon emissions through the supply to a number of our buildings but also allow for residents and businesses to receive financial savings, which at such a difficult time in the energy market, is vital. The Green HeatNetwork fund award is warmly received by the Council and will ensure that our taxpayers money goes further.”
The University of Reading has been awarded £2.2 million to expand and decarbonise its energy centre at the Whiteknights Campus, which currently powers its district heating network. The funding will help to replace the current CHP-led network with an open-loop ground source heat pump from the below-ground aquifer.
The upgraded system will provide over 50% of the current heat network load, with additional plans for a small cooling network to be delivered by December 2025.
The Whiteknights energy centre also stores excess heat generated in two large thermal stores for times of high demand – further creating greater energy security for the university. The network will reduce the carbon footprint of its campus by 10%, reducing emissions by 1,500 tonnes of carbon per year.
Professor Robert Van de Noort, vice chancellor of the University of Reading, said:
“This project, and the funding to make it happen, provide a major boost to the University’s mission to continue our leadership in environmental sustainability. This demonstrates that the technologies needed for a low carbon future are within our grasp.
“This is a flagship project for the University, and as with all our activities, we look forward to sharing our experience with the wider world and encouraging others to take similar actions.”