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Tens of thousands of UK homes, businesses and public buildings are one step closer to benefitting from greener, cleaner energy thanks to £44 million of government funding announced today (Friday 28 May).

Today’s funding package addresses the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of heating homes and workspaces which makes up almost a third of all UK carbon emissions.

Of the £44 million funding announced today, £30 million will fund 3 innovative heat network projects providing low carbon energy in south-east London, Manchester and Cambridgeshire, whilst helping to bring down energy bills.

Zeus – MPU 1

A heat network is a distribution system of insulated pipes that takes heat from a central source, such as a combined heat and power plant or heat recovered from industry and delivers it to a number of domestic or non-domestic buildings.

They are a proven, cost-effective way of providing reliable low carbon heat at a fair price to consumers.

South-east London

More than £12 million of funding to develop one of the UK’s largest heat networks in the London Borough of Bexley that will supply low carbon heat to 21,000 homes.

Heat for the network will be drawn centrally from the processing of non-recyclable waste, a low carbon alternative to individual gas boilers.

The project is part of plans by energy company Vattenfall to deliver low carbon heating to 75,000 homes across the Thames Estuary over the next decade.

Manchester

£14.7 million to develop a network across a zone of five square kilometres in Manchester’s city centre that will distribute low carbon electricity, heat and cooling to a range of buildings, including the local hospital, a mix of social and private housing, student accommodation blocks and commercial organisations such as the Heineken brewery.

Heating will be powered by energy from solar panels and air source heat pumps.

Cambridgeshire

£3.3 million for a first-of-its-kind community-led project in the Cambridgeshire village of Swaffham Prior, which will allow 300 properties to collectively transition from oil to low-carbon heating using a network of hybrid ground and air source heat pumps.

Minister for Climate Change Lord Callanan said:

“Almost a third of all UK carbon emissions come from heating our homes and addressing this is a vital part of eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050.”

“Today’s funding package will accelerate the development of low-carbon technologies that will both reduce emissions, and ensure people’s homes are warmer, greener and cheaper to run.”

“Securing a lasting move away from fossil fuels to heat our homes will allow thousands of households and businesses to feel the benefits of projects that are breaking new ground and making our villages, towns and cities cleaner places to live and work.”

Innovative projects like those this funding is backing are developing new and effective ways to use energy in homes and workspaces, which is helping to drive down costs and making low-carbon heat affordable and accessible for consumers as the UK transitions to a greener future.

On top of the £30 million for heat network projects, a further £14.6 million announced today will benefit 11 projects in England, Scotland and Wales.

The funding will be invested in exploring ways the UK can develop and use efficient, low-carbon technologies for heating and cooling buildings.

Projects include one being led by Durham University that is exploring whether water in flooded, abandoned coal mines could be used as a low-carbon geothermal source of heat.

Another scheme from the University of Birmingham is looking at ways that electricity from renewable energy sources can be stored in times of low demand to meet requirements at peak periods and a further project being led by the University of Glasgow is aiming to develop the efficiency of air source heat pumps.

Today’s £44 million funding announcement comes ahead of the publication of the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy which will set out how carbon emissions in homes and workspaces will be addressed to meet legal commitments over ending contributions to climate change by 2050.

The strategy is due to be published this year.

The funding also helps deliver on commitments made in the Prime Minister’s 10 point plan to make the UK’s homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, while creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and the government’s ambitious energy white paper that commits to transforming the UK’s energy system and changing the way homes are heated.

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