UKDEA welcomes Government’s heat policy proposals but questions whether DECC have gone far enough to deliver the required growth in low carbon heat networks.
DECC today released its latest salvo of proposals to decarbonise the nation’s heat supplies.
Heading up the charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s developing Heat
Strategy was their new policy document titled “The Future of Heating: Meeting the
challenge”. Following on from last year’s “Strategic Framework for Low Carbon Heat”, this
action plan has done well to translate loose aims into concrete policy proposals, though
there will plenty of work to do, to turn these proposals into successful action.
Heat is responsible for about a third of UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and it’s clear that
DECC still have the necessary ambition for low carbon heat in the UK; Secretary of State,
Ed Davey, stated in his forward, “Without changing the way we produce and consume heat,
we will not meet our long-term climate change target.”
District energy remains central to the Government’s low-carbon heat policies, with one of the
policy paper’s four chapters devoted to Heat Networks. Also considered are uses of Low
Carbon Heat in Industry, Heat and Cooling in Buildings, as well as Grids and Infrastructure.
UKDEA Chairman, Simon Woodward, said earlier “We are delighted that the Department of
Energy and Climate Change recognise greater use of low carbon district energy is a
necessity for this country, and we are very positive about the announcements today.
However, we’re left waiting until 2014 before consultation commences on any fiscal support
for implementation and therefore, we question whether the growth DECC are seeking will be
delivered by this policy paper when only development and not capital cost implementation
barriers are being addressed. We will of course continue to work with Government, to
identify ways to overcome these barriers and rapidly expand district energy networks in the
What are the Proposals?
The flagship heat networks policy proposal is a new Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU),
operating within DECC, providing support to local authorities that want to deliver district
energy schemes. HNDU will work closely with local authorities’ project teams, providing the
expertise that they may lack in-house. As part of this £9m programme, a total of £6m will be
available (for up to two financial years) to support early stage development costs and ready
projects for procurement.
However, at this stage, no funding or financial support is available to support capital costs of
delivering schemes. Although next year, DECC will look at the potential to provide
renewable heat networks with specific financial incentives, through the Renewable Heat
Incentive (RHI). This is welcome news, even though the initial aim had been to include such
support in the RHI from the start and further delay to consultation in 2014 remains
DECC intends to endorse industry-led consumer protection later this year and will also
consult on options for mandatory installation of heat meters as part of heat network
developments. DECC has continued to make clear that it does not wish to stop the growth
of the UK’s district energy sector through unnecessary regulation.
The DECC Policy Paper draws heavily on quantified evidence, including referenced
contributions from the UKDEA. Results from the recent Databuild research are included,
which estimated that there are around 2,000 DH networks in the UK, serving approximately
210,000 dwellings as well as 1,700 commercial and public buildings, all delivering around
2% of national heat demands. BRE’s recent work for DECC on barriers to District Heating
informs the proposals and is covered in more detail in a separate paper, also released today,
that is over 100 pages long. A further 48 page long Evidence Annex adds to the evidence
The UKDEA will spend time considering the supporting evidence and ensure that any
necessary peer review forms part of our response to Government, alongside continuing
advice and submission of relevant evidence. Analysis of the policies will be carried out with
the input of the UKDEA’s diverse and experienced member base, so that the genuine
potential of the proposals can be understood.
Further Government action in this area isn’t limited to Whitehall and the UKDEA also eagerly
awaits the forthcoming Heat Generation Policy Statement from the Scottish Government
later this year, taking things forward from January’s Heat Vision (link below).
The DECC Policy Proposal and associated documents can all be downloaded from DECC’s
Notes to Editors:
The partners, owners and operators of the largest district energy schemes in the UK have
aligned themselves in the creation of the UK District Energy Association (UKDEA); with the
aim of not only promoting district energy as a means to deliver significant carbon savings,
but also to establish a direct link between the Government and the industry’s small market
The Association is a not for profit, non-trade association of companies and public sector
organisations involved or interested in district energy schemes of all sizes, from village
scale, community based ‘micro district energy’ schemes to city wide district heat energy
Still in its infancy, the UKDEA has attracted leading players in the industry, with the
UKDEA’s Full members comprising of 14 major organisations:
Birmingham City Council
Cofely District Energy Limited
Coventry City Council
ENER-G Switch 2 Limited
E.ON Energy Solutions Limited
Leicester City Council
Newcastle City Council
Newport City Homes Limited
Shetland Heat, Energy and Power Limited
Southampton City Council
SW Energy Limited
Veolia Environmental Services Limited
Together, these 14 organisations represent the: Birmingham, Coventry, Exeter, Leicester,
Liverpool Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newport, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Shetland,
Southampton and Woking District Energy schemes, together with a number of schemes in
London including Olympic Park and Stratford City, Bloomsbury Heat & Power, Whitehall,
Hatfield, Dalston Square, Greenwich Millennium Village, Barbican Arts Centre, Guildhall,
Bastion House, Ontario Tower, Pan Peninsula, Baltimore Wharf, Wapping Lane, High Point
Village and London Central Markets.
The UKDEA also has 31 Associate Members, including international members, sharing and
contributing information to our district energy knowledge base.
UKDEA Key Facts:
Together the UKDEA members represent:
Over 120 MW of low carbon generation plant (CHP, biomass, EFW etc)
Supported by over 600 MW of conventional back up boiler plant
Delivering over 700,000,000 kWh of heat each year
Across energy networks which, if combined, would extend for more than 200km
Through Full and Associate membership, the UK District Energy Association’s aim is to
represent current and potential owners, developers, consumers, partners, operators, product
suppliers and interested parties of District Energy schemes throughout the UK.
The UKDEA welcomes new members. Be part of our district energy information sharing loop
and apply for membership of this forward thinking Association today.