UK government: Leading the eradication of the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels

On 29 July 2022, the UK government announced that £54m will be awarded to four projects dedicated to eradicating the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.

This £54m funding will be dedicated to:

  • Enabling the supply of clean energy to nearly 28,000 homes and businesses in England;
  • Supporting the rollout of heat networks, helping reduce energy bills, and supporting local regeneration; and
  • Aiding in moving away from costly fossil fuels, which will see heat networks and also help shore up the UK’s energy independence.

Eliminating the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels

This funding will support the development of schemes in London, Bedfordshire, and Woking that utilise low-carbon heat sources, such as heat pumps and energy from waste to warm properties.

Furthermore, this will mean home and business owners can abandon boilers fuelled by more costly oil and gas, helping reduce energy bills and boost the country’s energy independence. The cash injection will enable the projects to develop and complete the construction of the networks providing energy to households and commercial sites including shops, offices, and public buildings.

Additionally, as well as helping households eradicate expensive fossil fuels, the funding helps address the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of heating homes and workspaces, which makes up almost a third of all UK carbon emissions. The annual carbon savings from these four projects is the equivalent of removing 5,500 cars from the road or the average household use of over 400 kettles.

“These projects will transform how tens of thousands of households and businesses keep their properties warm,” explained Lord Callanan, Minister for Business and Energy.

“By investing in cutting-edge low-carbon heating technologies we are helping to secure a lasting move away from using fossil fuels and protecting consumers from the costs that are driving up energy bills at a time of high global prices.”

Which projects will this funding be awarded to?

Almost £28m will fund two innovative heat network projects in Haringey in London, with nearly £17m going to a project in Stewartby in Bedfordshire and a further £9m for one in Woking.

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

Heat networks are uniquely able to unlock otherwise inaccessible large-scale renewable and recovered heat sources, such as large rivers and industrial heat. This allows them to reduce bills, support local regeneration and provide a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating, whilst simultaneously boosting energy security. Heat networks which use renewable sources, such as ambient heat and geothermal, also help to increase the UK’s energy independence and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels.

The projects receiving funding are:

Haringey London Borough Council

Awarded £27.8m funding for two heat network projects: Wood Green District Heating Network (£10.6m) and the Tottenham Hale and Broadwater Farm District Heating Network (£17.2m). Both of which will collectively supply heat to almost 10,000 homes when fully built out. These heat networks will be supplied primarily by heat generated by the Energy Recovery Facility being built at the Edmonton Eco Park.

Thamesway Energy Limited

Awarded over £9.4m for a major expansion to an existing heat network, which supplies heat to the public sector, and commercial and residential customers in Woking town centre. Additionally, the investment in new infrastructure will enable up to 3,450 new homes to be supplied as part of a major infrastructure scheme in the west and south of Woking.

Vital Energi

Awarded £16.9m to develop a heat network utilising waste heat from the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, which is located in a former brick clay extraction pit near Stewartby in Bedfordshire. It has been stated that approximately 12,000 homes and non-domestic buildings could eventually be connected to the scheme.

Helping businesses and households gain access to low-carbon heating

Projects located across England and Wales have been awarded funding through the scheme, including Bristol, Gateshead, Leeds, and Liverpool. A total of over £250m has been awarded since 2018, which will help households and businesses across the region to access low-carbon heating.

Earlier this year the UK government introduced its Energy Security Bill, which will increase consumers’ protection. For the first time, Ofgem will be appointed to oversee the regulation of the heat networks market – approximately 480,000 consumers across Britain – to ensure consumers are charged a fair price, including by enabling the regulator to investigate disproportionate prices and take enforcement action.

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