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Only low-carbon heating networks eligible for new support

The government?s new ?270mn Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) will only support low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps, solar and geothermal energy in the roll-out of the next generation of heat networks, says the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Heat networks supply heat to buildings from a central source, avoiding the need for households and workplaces to have individual heating solutions such as gas boilers. At present, there are over 14,000 heat networks in the UK, says BEIS, providing heating and hot water to around 480,000 consumers. 

Heat networks have the potential to be a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating. They are the only way that larger-scale renewable and recovered heat sources ? such as heat from large rivers and urban recovered heat ? can be utilised. 

The previous Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) provided more than ?165mn of funding for schemes across England and Wales since 2018. The new GHNF successor scheme will go even further, by supporting applications only if they include low-carbon heat technologies.

BEIS expects the new scheme to play a significant role in kick-starting market demand for large-scale heat pumps and deliver a mix of low-carbon heating solutions as people gradually transition away from fossil fuel boilers over the next 15 years. Although heat networks currently meet just 2% of the overall UK demand for heating, the Committee on Climate Change has estimated that, with continued support, they could provide 18% by 2050.

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