Combined heat and power (CHP) installations are being put firmly on the map, thanks to a new wave of funding from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). £320 million will support the wider use of low carbon and recycled heat in cities and towns.
Through district heating (aka central heating for cities), the scheme will reduce heating costs (by over 30 per cent in some cases). Wasted heat from the likes of factories and power stations in urban areas will be recycled to heat homes and businesses and reduce heating bills.
Heat networks are already operating in some parts of the UK. A map created by The Association for Decentralised Energy shows the residential and commercial districts, universities and hospitals already benefitting.
These include Christie Hospital in Manchester and Royal Bolton Hospital, as well as University College London, Imperial College London, Heathrow Airport and Whitehall.
Minister of state for energy Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “Heat networks can significantly improve the efficiency with which heat is provided to our towns and cities, as well as helping to develop local infrastructure and reduce carbon. The new scheme will help us to develop viable reforms to make the most of the heat we produce and use it effectively to bring bills down for people across the country.”
District heating and CHP have been popular in other parts of Europe for quite some time. Denmark, for example, has reduced its reliance on oil imports since the oil crisis of the 1970s. In 2011, C40 Cities revealed that 98 per cent of heating in Copenhagen was actually supplied by waste heat.
Copenhagen’s district heating system is one of the biggest and oldest in the world – and one of the most successful. It was set up in 1984 to capture waste heat from electricity production, which would otherwise have been released into the sea. As a result, household bills were slashed by €1,400 annually, saving the equivalent of 203,000 tonnes of oil each year.
In a move that the UK may soon emulate, Denmark introduced tax incentives in the mid-1980s on fuel for electricity plants. By using CHP, plants paid less fuel tax, so that heat could be sold to consumers at lower prices.
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