10 October 2017

Leading South West renewable energy experts have urged a focus on heat networks, which connect a number of buildings to a joint heat source, to replace costly and polluting oil fired heating.

Local authorities and private sector companies are already exploring and implementing heat network projects. But small scale community-led heat network projects are far less common. Many smaller towns and villages would benefit from a heat network and the guide aims to show the benefits of such schemes and some of the legal issues to consider.

The specialist energy team at Stephens Scown LLP and Regen, have joined forces to create a guide – Heat Networks: Options For Providing Heat Locally.

Sonya Bedford, partner and head of the energy team at Stephens Scown said: “Almost half of the energy we use in the UK is for heating. We are also facing a reduction in our natural gas supplies in the UK, so there is an urgent need to find more efficient solutions that do more with less.

“The growth of heat networks will require successive governments to provide encouragement and support. With the challenges of climate change it has never been more important for the UK to have a co-ordinated energy policy which takes a 50 year view of our energy needs rather than a five year parliamentary cycle viewpoint. With this long term plan UK PLC would become more energy self-sufficient and also more efficient in its use of world’s finite resources.”

Tim Crook, senior project manager at Regen said: “Heating our homes and business is a major source of carbon emissions and also a struggle for those in fuel poverty. This guide shows there is great potential in off gas grid areas to replace expensive oil fired heating with heat from a central source shared through a local heat network.”

The new guide, Heat Networks: Options For Providing Heat Locally, covers issues including costs, heat network business models, consumer protection, the legal landscape and technical standards. The guide is available to download for free here.

Author:  Stephens Scown and Regen