Heat networks provide heat and power from a central thermal energy source, such as heat recovery from industry or water source heat pumps. This is then delivered to homes and businesses via a series of insulated pipes.
Crucially, decarbonised heat networks do not rely on burning fossil fuels so the energy which is delivered does not contribute to climate change. This has benefits both in reducing CO2 emissions and potentially lowering heating costs.
If feasible, a locally delivered network could have the potential to protect businesses and residents from price increases in the wholesale energy markets, which has seen record hikes in the cost of gas and electric.
Funded by the Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU), the study is likely to be completed by next April and will build on a previous heat mapping study commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in 2019 which identified up to 8 indicative clusters across the district.
The new study will provide a more detailed and up to date examination of the clusters. Technical solutions for delivery will then be assessed for clusters which are identified as having the most potential.
As part of the project, the council will be consulting with local public and private sector organisations that are high users of energy. Any organisation which believes they could benefit from the scheme is encouraged to register their interest at email@example.com.
Councillor Kevin Frea, cabinet member with responsibility for climate action, said: “Around 37% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by heating so this is an area where we can potentially make a huge difference.
“There’s a long way to go but I’m excited by the potential – not only in reducing CO2 emissions but also in providing lower bills for our residents and businesses by controlling the network ourselves and removing reliance on fossil fuels."
The benefits of renewable energy over fossil fuels are already starting to pay dividends for the council, as seen in the completion of a scheme to decarbonise its largest consumer of gas and electricity – Salt Ayre Leisure Centre.
Thanks to funding of £6.8M from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) air source heat pumps have been installed which it’s forecasted will save the council in the region of £100,000 a year over the previous heating system.
And a solar farm built on an adjacent disused landfill site has so far generated 625 mega-watt hours of electricity since March, enough to power around 170 homes for a year. During peak times this has powered the leisure centre completely from 7.30am – 7.30pm.
The solar farm will provide around 30% of the centre’s annual energy needs. When combined with a REGO-backed green energy tariff, CO2 savings are expected to be in the region of 630 – 640 tonnes a year, creating what is believed to be one of the first carbon neutral leisure centres in the UK.
The scheme has led to the council being nominated in the Best Climate Action or Decarbonisation Initiative category at this year’s Apse Service Awards.
Last updated: 03 August 2022