Getting hotter: are heat networks about to take off in the UK?

Getting hotter: are heat networks about to take off in the UK?

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The UK's heat sector accounts for about a fifth of national CO2 emissions, and the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change has been highly critical of efforts to decarbonise it. In a recent report it recommends that new homes should not be connected to the gas grid from 2025. Instead, it says, they should be built on systems such as heat networks, where a group of buildings are linked to a central energy source through underground pipes. The promise of heat networks, also known as district heating systems, is that they can provide greener heating to many homes or businesses at once and may be cheaper and more reliable than alternatives. The UK's first district heating scheme was built in Pimlico in the 1950s to funnel waste heat from Battersea Power Station to thousands of homes and businesses. Heat networks grew in popularity and some councils bought into them enthusiastically, particularly for social housing. But the idea never gathered steam the way it did in parts of Europe, particularly the Nordic countries, Germany and the Netherlands, and fizzled out in the latter part of the 20th century.

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