"Business Breakfast: Heat Networks" 12th March 2019


‘Heat Networks’ co-hosted by The Future Economy Network and Ashfords LLP.


On Tuesday 12th March 2019, The Future Economy Network hosted a Business Breakfast about Heat Networks. The event took place at subscribers, Ashfords LLP city centre offices in Bristol with over 40 people in attendance!


Director of The Future Economy Network, Katherine Piper opened the event, highlighting the benefits of subscribing to the Network, sharing exciting news about The Future Economy Group’s move to their new sustainability hub, advising of their upcoming Festival of Sustainable Business and introducing new member of the team, Richard Murphy (Director of Recruitment).

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Stephen Ward, Regional Director of AECOM then spoke about the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), a £320m investment programme to support District Heat Networks in England and Wales. He highlighted the importance of decarbonising our heating (and cooling) which combined with cooking, accounts for 37% of UK emissions (larger than transport). Heat networks could play a crucial part in the transition to cleaner heating and cooling and installing efficient heat networks across the UK will allow progress to be made on reducing emissions from heating whilst eliciting financial benefits for end users in the form of lower bills. Given the associated benefits, there is a strong government interest in Heat Networks, which are particularly effective in dense, urban areas. Stephen explained that the HNIP will help increase the volume and improve the quality of Heat Networks in England and Wales as well as building the capability of project sponsors and the supply chain.


Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management (the consortium appointed to the role of Delivery Partner for the HNIP) are promoting the various funding mechanisms available; grants, corporate loans and project loans. To be eligible for HNIP, a project must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Application Guidance. This includes needing to be of a sufficient size (2GWh of heat delivered per year), being sufficiently well developed and having one of the following heat sources: 75% of the heat from Combined Heat and Power (CHP) (which can include non-renewable fuels), 50% of the heat from a renewable source, 50% recovered heat or 50% of the heat from any combination of renewable/ recovered heat and non-renewable fuelled CHP. For more information, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-heat-networks-investment-project-hnip-funding or www.tp-heatnetworks.org. To contact Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management about HNIP or to ask about a potential project, please email enquiries@tp-heatnetworks.org.

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This was followed by welcoming David Broom, Sales Manager from Kensa Group. David set the UK energy context by drawing attention to the Energy Trilemma and the decreasing carbon intensity of electricity within the country. Given the decarbonisation of the grid, David explained that heat networks account for just a third of the emissions compared to that of a gas boiler (when using the updated SAP calculations). David highlighted the issues associated with traditional district heating; heat loss, problems with appointing bills to end users and the lack of energy supplier choice. He then discussed Kensa’s development of a shared ground source loop solution. This is a network of boreholes delivering to individual heat pumps in each property. The advantages of this solution is that distribution losses are minimised, there is not a need for smart control systems or a billing platform and customers can shop around for their electricity supplier. Additionally, a low temperature network is easy to convert to passive cooling by by-passing the heat pump. David ended by advising of Kensa’s future plans. Kensa have proven they can deliver Heat Networks and are now looking to deliver at an increasingly large scale. They are also thinking about the impact of the introduction of time-of-use tariffs, the removal of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the delivery of heat as a service.

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 Next up, The Future Economy Network welcomed Rufus Ford, Business Development Manager from Vattenfall. Vattenfall’s heat business in the UK celebrated its one-year anniversary last week but with 30 people on the team, it is a fast-growing business. In the UK, Vattenfall intends to develop heat networks at scale, using low- and zero-carbon sources from the outset. Vattenfall in Europe however has a long heritage of operating heat networks and has over 2.2 million customers on such heating systems. Rufus spoke in some detail about the expansion of the heat network in Amsterdam with the introduction of district energy reducing Amsterdam’s carbon emissions by 70% compared to gas boilers. Vattenfall anticipate having 320,000 customers in Amsterdam by 2040 and are currently growing at 8000 new customers per year there.

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And last but not least, we welcomed Nick James, Founding Director of Futureground. Nick discussed that Heat Networks sit at the nexus of the energy and buildings sectors, with both sectors in a significant state of change, challenge and opportunity. He discussed the importance of achieving carbon emissions reductions, alongside ensuring comfort and reducing costs and suggested that there needs to be the adoption of a service-led people-centred approach. In order to achieve this approach, 3 areas need to be considered; Plan, Deliver and Curate. Nick stressed that from the outset, the desired end result needs to be articulated. Within the delivery, the need to find out from the client how hands on they want to be, that way ascertaining whether or not to contract out some of the delivery is crucial. Finally, the importance of being able to adapt to change, to balance CapEx with OpEx and ensure continuous improvement were discussed. Nick gave examples throughout of projects he has worked on where this approach has been successful.


The event ended with two 60 second pitches. Ben Frost (Ben Frost Ltd) spoke about Endotherm, the cheapest and fastest way to save 15% on your heating bills (verified by the energy savings trust). Used on over 50,000s buildings, people are singing its praises, and for good reason too. For further information on this product please click here or contact The Future Economy Group’s Director of Products & Services, Tess O’Shea. We also heard from Michael Green from Luna 9. For information about his business, please visit their website here.

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A very lively networking over drinks, fruit and pastries courtesy of Ashfords LLP was then enjoyed by all. We would like to offer sincere thanks to all of our speakers and to Network subscribers, Ashfords LLP for co-hosting the event. Also, a huge thank you to all attendees – we hope you found it an interesting event and came away with some useful insights/collaborations.