The Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng MP paid his first visit to a completed heat network site which has received HNIP funding. Located in Camden, the Somers Town heat network is now fully constructed and in operation, delivering borough-wide carbon emissions reductions and supporting the Council’s local decarbonisation strategy. This marks the first time the Minister was able to see a HNIP-funded heat network deliver heating and hot water to the local community.
HNIP was set up to provide gap funding to heat network projects in England and Wales and with several other schemes currently under construction, the opportunity to see such schemes in operation is increasingly becoming a reality.
The Somers Town project was initiated by the London Borough of Camden, delivered by Vital Energi and carried out in two phases:
- Installation of a district heating network connecting four estates and the retrofit of an energy centre into the basement of an under-used car park. This was completed in 2015 and served 339 homes.
- Installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) engine, thermal stores and connection to the nearby Mayford housing estate.
HNIP funding was allocated to support Phase 2 in 2018 and has enabled 184 dwellings and a new local primary school to connect to the heat network providing them with low carbon, affordable energy. This project demonstrates the ability for heat networks to be designed to take advantage of lower carbon technologies as they emerge and the important role HNIP funding plays in getting pipes in the ground.
Ken Hunnisett, Project Director, Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management (HNIP Delivery Partner) said: “It was a real pleasure to visit one of our operational sites with the Minister today. It is vitally important that we showcase our completed networks as they provide case studies for future schemes to learn from. While Government and industry can continue to provide investment, resource, direction and drive it is the real-world, hands-on experience and passionate advocacy of the sector’s early adopters such as those at Camden Council that help bring the opportunity before us into sharp focus. While it was fascinating to learn about the technical and architectural challenges that the team had overcome, it was the pride in being able to deliver an outstanding service to an evidently close-knit community that really impressed. Decarbonising heat is one of the greatest challenges we face, and heat networks will inevitably be an important part of our net zero journey. We are proud to help this market grow and support schemes to ensure they continue to inspire and encourage others to consider this community focussed, technology agnostic, low carbon heating solution.”
The tour consisted of a visit to the Energy Centre and followed the route taken by the section of the heat network that received the HNIP funding and now serves heat to the Mayford Estate.
The new heating system replaced three old communal gas boilers previously used to heat the building, with space reserved to allow for increased capacity in future.
The council has negotiated a private wire deal to sell electricity generated by the new energy centre to the Francis Crick Institute, a major UK life sciences facility which is based nearby. This will provide a long-term revenue stream for the network. A special connection is being built to link the energy centre to the institute.
Councillor Adam Harrison Camden Council Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden said: “Somers Town Energy is a project designed to reduce borough-wide CO2 emissions whilst also improving the energy efficiency of heat supply to residents in Somers Town.
“The climate emergency is the most serious threat that our planet and its people face. Camden is committed to leading radical action, doing what we can to address this threat. Carbon dioxide emissions in Camden have fallen by over 40% over the last 10 years, but we know we need go further and more urgently. Last year we declared a climate emergency and committed to doing everything we could to make Camden a zero carbon borough by 2030.
“In June of this year the council approved a Climate Action Plan that proposes a five-year programme of projects and activities around the themes of People, Places, Buildings and Organisations that deliver on 17 Citizens’ Assembly recommendations and bring to life the vision of a zero carbon Camden. This will be the first of two plans to 2030.
“We will only achieve this by working together with strategic and local partners and Somers Town Energy is a great example of this in practice.”
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