More than 20,000 homes could be heated by drawing energy from just 40 urban rivers and estuaries, from the Tyne in Newcastle down to the Stour in Bournemouth, according to new government research.The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, wants to see quick development of water-source heat pumps. These draw residual heat from rivers, which is then fed into local networks or single buildings to provide a low-carbon form of energy. The Department of Energy has today published a “heat map” (see graphic) to help developers and local authorities identify the best locations to install the pumps, aligning them to areas with high demand for heat.
More than 1GW of modern wood heating systems have been installed under a government scheme designed to accelerate the roll out of greener boilers. Ofgem figures show the sector broke through the milestone last week following strong demand from commercial, industrial, and public sector organisations since the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched in late 2011. The scheme, which offers payments to renewable heat generators, was subsequently expanded to include households from April this year.
The government has launched an online tool to help consumers calculate the money they could earn by installing renewable heat technologies, such as solar thermal panels or ground source heat pumps. The new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) calculator is available in England, Scotland and Wales, and will show users instantly how much money they can expect to earn through the subsidy scheme, which launched earlier this year for the domestic market.
Emeritus Professor of Physics at Imperial College Keith Barnham says fracking companies could follow Greenfield Energy, now drilling below the carparks of a leading supermarket chain for geothermal heat. Most scientists agree we cannot burn more than one-third of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves if we are to slow global warming. Why exploit new, unproven gas resources of uncertain yield? At far shallower depths there is sufficient geothermal energy to heat and cool buildings.
A SCOTTISH distillery is going green with the help of an investment of about £1 million to install a biomass boiler. The Balmenach Distillery in Speyside, north-eastern Scotland, is receiving finance from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to install the technology, which will replace the polluting heavy fuel oil boiler currently used at the plant. It is the third Scottish distillery to benefit from a £5 million funding pot for energy efficiency in distilleries from the Green Investment Bank and the private sector, with each project getting between £1 million and £1.5 million funding.
Heat and hot water at a new housing development in the Highlands will be provided by an innovative community biomass scheme, after the local council approved the project. The 24 two and three bedroom family houses being built at Milton Burn, in the heart of the town of Aviemore, will be heated by a single biomass heating network powered by two 70 kilowatt biomass systems.
A 66-hectare site overlooking the River Tyne, which is the site of the largest single housing-led regeneration scheme in the North of England is to be powered by a combined heat and power – district heating system. The New Tyne West Development Company – a joint partnership between Newcastle City Council and developers Barratt Homes and Keepmoat – will install the system which will eventually supply all 1,800 homes at The Rise.
A feasibility study to look into developing “innovative heat networks’’ using heat extracted from disused coal mines in the Kells area of Whitehaven, has been awarded a grant of £123,470 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change following a bid by Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC). Lee Carr, low carbon energy development manager at BEC, says: “This funding award is a major step in bringing innovative heat networks to West Cumbria and the potential for cheaper, low carbon and locally-produced energy for hundreds – if not thousands – of homeowners and businesses. It marks the culmination of a lot of hard work stemming from the publication of BEC’s Energy Compass strategy through to the writing of this successful bid.”
Local authorities could play a key role in creating a mass market for renewable heat technologies, suggested Andrew Cooper, a Green party councillor for Kirklees. As councils have large amounts of housing stock, they could move the renewable heat market forward quickly if they invested in the technology. Social housing could “get the market moving for the private sector”, he said, but political leadership was required to overcome the risk-averse nature of local authorities. Alan Simpson, adviser to Friends of the Earth and a former MP, said the UK had to look at emulating the German model for financing and installing these technologies. “Success in Germany is driven around prompt delivery, de-complicating the process and de-risking it,” he said. The Germans are driving a growing economy on reduced energy consumption, but the delivery vehicles are de-centralised, he said.
The government has allocated £2.1m for renewable heat network projects across England and Wales to help local councils recycle excess heat from industry. Twenty-four local authorities, including Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle city councils, will receive a share of the funding designed to slash carbon emissions from the UK’s domestic heat sector. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed the latest funding round for councils, including awards to Bath and North East Somerset, Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, as well as Cornwall and Devon. Westminster City Council, Camden, Hackney and Merton London Boroughs will also receive a share of the funds. The money will be used to create heat networks that can transport heat recovered from industry or from waste to energy projects to provide heat and hot water to local homes and business.