The North East’s ambition to become home to the UK’s first low carbon heat cluster is taking a step forward today, as figures from local government and the energy sector convene on Tyneside.
The Association for Decentralised Energy’s Heat Network Conference 2022, a major national conference on the future of heating for homes and businesses, is taking place today (September 20), and will be followed by a day-long forum, jointly hosted by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the Royal Danish Embassy in London.
The two events have been organised in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The London forum will be attended by senior figures from across the UK and Danish energy sectors, local government and BEIS, and will focus on how the North East can lead the UK’s drive to achieve one fifth of heating from clean heat networks by 2050 (up from 2 per cent today).
Lucy Winskell OBE, chair of the North East LEP, commented: “The North East has already been recognised by government as having the UK’s fastest-growing pipeline of low-carbon heat projects, with innovative projects already delivered such as the Gateshead District Energy Scheme (DES), Newcastle Helix and many more in the construction phase.”
Heat networks reduce carbon emissions by sharing centralised heat sources, such as geothermal heat, waste heat, or a heat pump, amongst many buildings. Heat networks can range from serving just a handful of consumers, to serving whole towns and cities, and removing the need for each building to have its own boiler.
The North East already has a £500m+ pipeline of heat network projects in development and construction, and this event aims to help develop the knowledge, skills and supply chain needed as these projects come to fruition.
The region has been designated by the Department for International Trade as a High Potential Opportunity area for foreign investment in heat networks, and BEIS estimates that, by 2050, around one-in-five homes could be supplied by heat networks – with most of these homes found in towns and cities.
Lucy Winskell OBE, Chair of the North East LEP, added: “There is a clear opportunity for economic growth and investment in our region as a result of our excellence in the low carbon heat sector, alongside other net zero sectors such as offshore wind and battery technology.
“We have the backing of central government and, with the support of experts who have implemented heat networks in Denmark, we will make the North East the UK’s exemplar for low carbon heating – while also bringing more and better jobs to the region.”
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