UKDEA Media Release

26th March 2013

UKDEA welcomes Government’s heat policy proposals but questions whether they go far enough

UKDEA welcomes Government’s heat policy proposals but questions whether DECC have gone far enough to deliver the required growth in low carbon heat networks.

DECC today released its latest salvo of proposals to decarbonise the nation’s heat supplies.  Heading up the charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s developing Heat Strategy was their new policy document titled “The Future of Heating: Meeting the challenge”.  Following on from last year’s “Strategic Framework for Low Carbon Heat”, this action plan has done well to translate loose aims into concrete policy proposals, though there will plenty of work to do, to turn these proposals into successful action.

Heat is responsible for about a third of UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and it’s clear that DECC still have the necessary ambition for low carbon heat in the UK; Secretary of State, Ed Davey, stated in his forward, “Without changing the way we produce and consume heat, we will not meet our long-term climate change target.”

District energy remains central to the Government’s low-carbon heat policies, with one of the policy paper’s four chapters devoted to Heat Networks.  Also considered are uses of Low Carbon Heat in Industry, Heat and Cooling in Buildings, as well as Grids and Infrastructure.

UKDEA Chairman, Simon Woodward, said earlier “We are delighted that the Department of Energy and Climate Change recognise greater use of low carbon district energy is a necessity for this country, and we are very positive about the announcements today.  However, we’re left waiting until 2014 before consultation commences on any fiscal support for implementation and therefore, we question whether the growth DECC are seeking will be delivered by this policy paper when only development and not capital cost implementation barriers are being addressed.  We will of course continue to work with Government, to identify ways to overcome these barriers and rapidly expand district energy networks in the UK”.

What are the Proposals?

The flagship heat networks policy proposal is a new Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU), operating within DECC, providing support to local authorities that want to deliver district energy schemes.  HNDU will work closely with local authorities’ project teams, providing the expertise that they may lack in-house.  As part of this £9m programme, a total of £6m will be available (for up to two financial years) to support early stage development costs and ready projects for procurement.

However, at this stage, no funding or financial support is available to support capital costs of delivering schemes.  Although next year, DECC will look at the potential to provide renewable heat networks with specific financial incentives, through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).  This is welcome news, even though the initial aim had been to include such support in the RHI from the start and further delay to consultation in 2014 remains frustrating.

DECC intends to endorse industry-led consumer protection later this year and will also consult on options for mandatory installation of heat meters as part of heat network developments.  DECC has continued to make clear that it does not wish to stop the growth of the UK’s district energy sector through unnecessary regulation.

The DECC Policy Paper draws heavily on quantified evidence, including referenced contributions from the UKDEA.  Results from the recent Databuild research are included, which estimated that there are around 2,000 DH networks in the UK, serving approximately 210,000 dwellings as well as 1,700 commercial and public buildings, all delivering around 2% of national heat demands.  BRE’s recent work for DECC on barriers to District Heating informs the proposals and is covered in more detail in a separate paper, also released today, that is over 100 pages long.  A further 48 page long Evidence Annex adds to the evidence base.

The UKDEA will spend time considering the supporting evidence and ensure that any necessary peer review forms part of our response to Government, alongside continuing advice and submission of relevant evidence.  Analysis of the policies will be carried out with the input of the UKDEA’s diverse and experienced member base, so that the genuine potential of the proposals can be understood.

Further Government action in this area isn’t limited to Whitehall and the UKDEA also eagerly awaits the forthcoming Heat Generation Policy Statement from the Scottish Government later this year, taking things forward from January’s Heat Vision (link below).


The DECC Policy Proposal and associated documents can all be downloaded from DECC’s website:








Notes to Editors:

The partners, owners and operators of the largest district energy schemes in the UK have aligned themselves in the creation of the UK District Energy Association (UKDEA); with the aim of not only promoting district energy as a means to deliver significant carbon savings, but also to establish a direct link between the Government and the industry's small market base.

The Association is a not for profit, non-trade association of companies and public sector organisations involved or interested in district energy schemes of all sizes, from village scale, community based 'micro district energy' schemes to city wide district heat energy networks.

Still in its infancy, the UKDEA has attracted leading players in the industry, with the UKDEA's Full members comprising of 14 major organisations:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Cofely District Energy Limited
  • Coventry City Council
  • ENER-G Switch 2 Limited
  • Enviroenergy Limited
  • E.ON Energy Solutions Limited
  • Leicester City Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • Newport City Homes Limited
  • Shetland Heat, Energy and Power Limited
  • Southampton City Council
  • SW Energy Limited
  • Thameswey Limited
  • Veolia Environmental Services Limited

Together, these 14 organisations represent the: Birmingham, Coventry, Exeter, Leicester, Liverpool Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newport, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Shetland, Southampton and Woking District Energy schemes, together with a number of schemes in London including Olympic Park and Stratford City, Bloomsbury Heat & Power, Whitehall, Hatfield, Dalston Square, Greenwich Millennium Village, Barbican Arts Centre, Guildhall, Bastion House, Ontario Tower, Pan Peninsula, Baltimore Wharf, Wapping Lane,  High Point Village and London Central Markets.

The UKDEA also has 31 Associate Members, including international members, sharing and contributing information to our district energy knowledge base.




UKDEA Key Facts:

Together the UKDEA members represent:

  • Over 120 MW of low carbon generation plant (CHP, biomass, EFW etc)
  • Supported by over 600 MW of conventional back up boiler plant
  • Delivering over 700,000,000 kWh of heat each year
  • Across energy networks which, if combined, would extend for more than 200km

Through Full and Associate membership, the UK District Energy Association's aim is to represent current and potential owners, developers, consumers, partners, operators, product suppliers and interested parties of District Energy schemes throughout the UK.

The UKDEA welcomes new members. Be part of our district energy information sharing loop and apply for membership of this forward thinking Association today.






For more information or membership details contact:


Chris Tanner

Secretary & Administrator for the UKDEA

Thames Head Wharf,

Tetbury Road,


Office: 01285 770615       Mobile: 07773 457941

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Website: www.ukdea.org.uk