Heat networks industry players come together to create ‘a cleaner, fairer future energy system’

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THE HEAT networks industry, which delivers heat to close to 500,000 customers across the country as an alternative to heating from individual gas boilers, has launched a Heat Networks Industry Council today.

The Industry Council represents key stakeholders in the heat networks sector working together to put forward a coherent ask and offer to Government, so that they can ‘work effectively together towards a cleaner, fairer future energy system.’

Dan McGrail, Chair of The Heat Networks Industry Council, commented on the launch: “We understand the economic challenges ahead of us as a country, which is why we want to do all that we can as the heat network industry to create jobs and investment.

“Our investment will generate jobs and will contribute to a sustainable economic transition in line with the United Kingdom’s net zero targets.”

The Heat Networks Industry Council offer, detailed directly to government and launched at today’s event, includes the ambition to deliver:

  • Universal zero carbon heat networks by 2035;
  • The capability (investment, skills, supply chain) necessary for 18% of UK heat demand to be met through heat networks by 2050;
  • Up to 35,000 new direct jobs in the sector by 2050
  • Investment of up to £50bn into the UK market by 2050;
  • City-wide strategic heat network plans for all major cities by 2030;
  • Consistent and excellent customer experience for all heat network users;
  • Efficient and low cost, digitally-enabled heat for all networks;

Heat networks deliver low carbon heat in the form of hot water or steam from a central point of generation to the end user through a network of insulated pipes.

In the UK today there are around 14,000 heat networks, with significant plans for expansion as part of the broader commitment to meeting net zero carbon emissions.

The heat networks sector is currently largely unregulated, though The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Scottish Government have committed to introducing further regulation to the heat networks market.

The Heat Networks Industry Council includes a spectrum of companies involved in the delivery of heat, including Siemens, SSE Heat Networks, Veolia, EDF, Energetik, Switch2, EON-UK, Vattenfall, Pinnacle Power, Vital Energi, Engie, Ramboll and independent consultant Jeremy Bungey.

At the launch of the council today, industry members heard from Polly Billington, Director of UK100, Doug Parr, Greenpeace Chief Scientist and Policy Director and Lord Duncan of Springbank, who was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from July 2019 to February 2020.

The online event was also attended by Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Mr Kwarteng commented on the launch: “Heat networks will play a vital role in a future net-zero economy by helping to decarbonise how we heat our buildings while creating new green jobs.

“The government’s £270m Green Heat Networks Fund underlines our support for the industry, and we back the new Heat Networks Industry Council to deliver on its ambitions for investment and job creation as part of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.”

According to research from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Climate Change Committee and the the Institute for Public Policy Research’s Economic Justice Commission, investing in non-gas boiler heating solutions is a top priority for sustainable investment that takes the country along the path to net zero.

The Heat Networks Industry Council is inviting new members and signatories who operate heat networks across the UK.

More information about the Council is available here