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Heat Networks – Investing in a sustainable future

11th Mar, 2024

Our team has a long history supporting the Government’s goals to grow the heat networks market in the UK delivering the Heat Network Transformation Programme. To date, we have played a major role in key grant funding schemes totalling approximately £1 billion

Gemserv is working with the Government to deliver the Heat Network Transformation Programme, which includes the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), the Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) and the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) to support the commercialisation and construction of heat networks, as well as improving the operational performance of existing networks.

We are also helping to develop the Heat Network Technical Assurance Scheme (HNTAS) which will drive up standards across the industry. Additionally, we have worked with local authorities to help them understand the skills and knowledge required to build and maintain heat networks in their regions.

HNES

The HNES is a grant funding scheme for existing district heating networks and communal heating systems that will up to £75m of capital grants to part-fund the installation of targeted and cost-effective performance improvement measures. The scheme will also provide up to £2m of revenue funding for projects to carry out optimisation studies, identifying costed and cost-effective performance improvement measures.

Gemserv manages HNES delivery, supporting applicants through the entire HNES process. This includes managing the application and assessment process, processing grant claims and analysing monitoring and reporting for successful projects. We also run events, scheme promotion and communications.

HNTAS

Gemserv is working alongside Fairheat and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) on the Heat Networks Technical Assurance Scheme (HNTAS) to develop standardised quality assurance processes for heat networks. A key component of this new regulatory framework will be the introduction of technical assurance standards and procedures to ensure high performance and good consumer outcomes. HNTAS is expected to underpin this regulation to ensure a minimum level of performance and reliability for heat networks, leading to good consumer outcomes.

Gemserv is leading on the governance workstream and is supporting the technical workstream. We have been facilitating discussions across the key elements of a heat network to gain consensus on and produce a set of explanatory documents. We are considering how the rules come together into workable schemes that reflect regulatory requirements, the heat network development process, the assurance industry’s capacity to undertake conformity assessment.

GHNF

The Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) is a £288m capital grant fund that opened to applicants in March 2022 and is anticipated to run to 2028. It provides support to organisations in the public, private, and third sectors in England. The GHNF is a key part of plans to reduce carbon emissions from heating homes and businesses by 2050, alongside long-term sustainable and energy-efficient heating and hot water for residents, whilst helping to reduce consumer’s energy bills. It replaced the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) scheme which closed for applications in January 2022.

Gemserv is proud to lead on stakeholder engagement and application management, including promoting the programme’s successes and supporting applicants throughout the process.

Ireland

Gemserv attended the Irish District Energy Association’s Annual Conference in Dublin in October 2023. It was interesting hear about the progress being made in Ireland and shared how the UK has used policy, incentives, and regulation to drive heat network deployment over recent years. We know the UK still has a long way to go to hit its target to deliver 20% heat demand from heat networks by 2050, but there are learnings that can be drawn from the approach with many policies directly applicable to the Irish market.

Ireland presents an exciting and growing market for anyone in the heat network sector internationally. Our heat network team will be watching how the policy landscape evolves and we hope to inform the debate over the coming months.

Authors

Megan Hulme

Policy & Insight Analyst

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