The Chancellor’s decision to commit over £300 million of funding to the introduction of up to 200 heat networks has been welcomed by a spokesperson for one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of commercial and industrial technologies but has stimulated debate on the future of the heat market.
Geoff Hobbs, Business Development Director at Bosch Commercial and Industrial, believes the support for heat networks will allow the UK to improve the efficiency of the country’s gas usage and work towards its challenging emissions targets. However, he goes on to say more needs to be done at a legislative level in order to grow confidence in the technology.
Geoff commented: “The Chancellor’s commitment to heat networks is hugely promising for the commercial and industrial heating industry. With such a comprehensive gas infrastructure in the UK, it is important that we look towards ways we can use this energy as efficiently as possible at source to achieve our emissions targets, and this is something modern heat networks lend themselves very well to.
“At the same time, we can also consider the potential of heat networks to allow homeowners and tenants to better control their energy usage, which can impact on energy bills and minimise the risk of fuel poverty.
“To this end, the Government should consider what more can be done to ensure customers of heat networks benefit from the investment in low cost, low impact heating. For the time being, the industry remains unregulated which can result in inconsistencies emerging throughout the sector and confusion among end-users.
“The recent introduction of the Heat Trust scheme, although voluntary, is a significant step in the right direction in ensuring this important technology is not tarnished by poorly operated schemes. We hope this will lead to the creation of a responsible supplier environment and would mean further benefits filtering down and ultimately strengthening the offering.
“While the UK’s heat market remains in a relatively early stage, the decision to drive investment by avoiding excessive bureaucracy seems fair. However, this latest investment marks the next stage of development for the sector and the industry must continue to deliver effective schemes if this stance is not to be reviewed.
“Encouragingly, the Chancellor’s funding follows the introduction of new heat network standards from the Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE) and Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), which means specifiers and developers now have more encouragement than ever before to maximise efficiency through district heating.”
For more information on Bosch Commercial and Industrial and its range of products and services, including its comprehensive district heating solutions, please visit www.bosch-industrial.co.uk