UK government funds England biomass, waste district heat projects

By Anna Simet | April 07, 2017

The United Kingdom Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced £24 million in funding for nine heat network projects across 13 local authorities in England, two of which will utilize waste or biomass as fuel.

England Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd made the announcement April 7, marking the first funding round of £320 million reserved to support city central heating networks. Based off an analysis by AECOM, the government believes that in some cases, these systems may have the potential to reduce heating costs by greater than 30 percent.

The networks will remove the need for properties to have individual boilers, linking them to a single heat source.

This initial funding was open to local authorities in England and Wales and public sector bodies who submitted applications in November. The winning authorities will receive a share of just over £24 million of capital funding to support construction of their projects. About £200,000 in early stage funding will support more four authorities to develop their plans, the announcement said, with the intention of building a pipeline of projects ready to compete for future rounds of capital funding.

Awarded recipients at the building stage include four projects in London, two in Manchester and one in Sheffield, Crawley and Colchester. Planning-stage support was won by projects in Trafford, Islington, Buckinghamshire and Middleborough.

The funding recipients will now begin to build their projects, with further funding available over the next four years to support hundreds more, according to the BEIS, which aims to launch the main funding scheme by the end of 2017.

The three projects in the Heat Networks Investment Project that will utilize waste or biomass are the Sheffield District Energy Network development, an energy-from-waste plant, and the Crawley Town Centre Heat Network, which will utilize a biomass boiler and gas combined-heat-and-power plant.

The Heat Networks Investment Project will run over five years, and is expected to enable the construction of up to 200 heat networks, leveraging around £2 billion of wider public and private investment.