UKDEA welcome Heat Strategy

Published on Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:19
Posted by Scott Buckler

The UK District Energy Association (UKDEA) has openly welcomed the publication of the long awaited Heat Strategy from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

The strategy, titled 'The Future of Heating: A Strategic Framework for Low Carbon Heat in the UK' has been released following a period of research by DECC into the UK's heat consumption habits. With a large proportion of the UK's total energy consumption being used on heating for homes and businesses across the country, finding low carbon solutions to heating needs is going to be essential if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction targets.

Whilst DECC's heat strategy does not, at this stage, set out particular policy proposals, what it does do is give a framework for decarbonising heat, from building level through to heat networks. Throughout the document, the support for district heating networks is made clear, with the construction of heat networks connected to low carbon sources listed as one of the three main methods of decarbonising the UK's heat supply.

In addition to this the strategy highlights two important aims for district energy. Firstly, to build an evidence base to identify issues and barriers for low carbon heat networks and, within 12 months, set out policy options to address these. Secondly, to support the expansion and development of low carbon heat networks throughout this decade, through new measures.

Within the strategy, several UKDEA members' projects were noted, including schemes in Southampton, Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield.

UKDEA Chairman, Simon Woodward, commented that, "This strategy represents an important step forward for the district energy industry. It demonstrates the UK governments commitment to facilitating and supporting district energy schemes and gives the industry a framework on which to build good practice and wider take up of the available technology."

The release of the strategy has given stakeholders an opportunity to communicate their views, and each chapter sets out a number of problems that it invites readers to help answer. As the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, states in his Ministerial Foreword to the strategy:
"This document does not contain all the answers. In fact, it contains ... questions that we want you to help us answer."

Stakeholder responses are due by May 24th. The UKDEA is undergoing a period of consultation with its members in order to submit a collaborative response to the strategy and welcome this opportunity to once again feed into government policy.

Responses will help to build on the work the UKDEA is already doing with DECC in terms of district energy, including the representation made at the recent DECC Expo. Here the UKDEA were asked to attend as industry experts and received warm praise from DECC following the event, including comments that "It really would not have been the same without you."

The strategy was launched in conjunction with the UK's new National Heat Map, giving local authorities and developers an opportunity to assess the potential for district energy networks in regards to new housing developments or regeneration projects. This new resource shows estimated heat demands down to individual building level, a much greater resolution than its predecessor, the UK CHP Development Map.

DECC is currently undertaking a national district heating survey with assistance from the UKDEA and, once finalised, the results of this will be incorporated to the National Heat Map, giving a greater depth of understanding than has ever been available before

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