A new start for district heating?
According to the ENDS report, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has commissioned a report on district heating in the UK, which accounts for just 2% of heat demand. It recommends the government intervene as district heating is “the preferred option for achieving carbon reduction in built up areas”. If a scheme was powered by waste heat from a power station, it would save carbon dioxide at a cost of £50 per tonne. This compares to over £150/t for solar thermal units and over £500/t for ground source heat pumps.
This is music to my ears. If you’ve been reading this blog for long you’ll know it’s a hobby horse of mine.
In this country we simply let two thirds of the fossil fuel energy we put into our electricity generation system fly up into the sky (or out into the sea). So much of this could be used to heat homes, public buildings, offices and factories at zero additional carbon and there is loads of it. 60% of Denmark’s heat load is delivered through district heating.
We did a project in 2007 mapping potential heat users around a proposed power station in the North of England and found a good network of public buildings around which to base a commercially viable system. There are a number of CHP based district heating schemes like the establish one in Southampton and the new one in Birmingham. So there are green shoots in this area and Government investment would be very welcome.