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Sewer power to provide heat for homes in Bolton

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Sewage and domestic hot water waste will be fuelling a new heat pump project which could see nearly 2,000 homes and businesses in Bolton heated by sewer power.

The project, receiving a share of £80.6m in funding from the Government, will see energy extracted from both sewage and waste hot water from washing machines, bathrooms and kitchens to fuel a new heat pump as part of Bolton’s first district heating network.

The funding comes alongside more than £8 million of government investment to improve 34 inefficient heat networks, enabling upgrades and creating a more reliable heating supply for more than 9,000 residents, while helping to keep bills down.

The transition to heat networks forms a major part of the UK’s carbon reduction commitment, with heating in buildings making up 30% of all UK emissions. Other projects to receive a share of the £80.6m from the Green Heat Network Fund include:

  • Newport City Homes Housing Association Limited, which has been awarded £3.7 million to upgrade the Duffryn District Heating System, improving the performance of the network for more than 970 homes, a local school, and businesses. Funding will go towards replacing over 3km of pipework across the network, while also upgrading control systems and insulation.
  • Bristol Heat Networks Limited, which will receive £746,582 for the Redcliffe Heat Network, with 740 residents benefitting from improvements. Funding will help replace the pipework across the network.
  • The University of Plymouth, which has been awarded £243,280 to upgrade to a sustainable heating system in the Portland Square area of its campus. The funding will improve the efficiency of the network allowing fossil fuel-powered appliances to be replaced with heat pumps and electric boilers.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said:

“These innovative projects will help drive down energy costs while also demonstrating why the UK has led the way in cutting carbon emissions.

Stephen Knight, Managing Director at Heat Trust, the national consumer protection scheme for heat network customers, said:

“At Heat Trust we sadly hear of far too many examples of inefficient and poorly performing heat networks. These can result in much higher heating costs for residents, overheating corridors and frequent breakdowns. The steep rises in gas prices over the last few years has meant that inefficient heat networks can be very expensive for residents. 

“The government’s Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) is therefore an important step in the right direction, and we welcome today’s announcement of funding. I would urge all those responsible for running existing heat networks to consider bidding for this funding in future rounds.”

Sarah Honan, Head of Policy at the Association for Decentralised Energy, said:

“Today’s announcement takes us an important step closer to heat networks’ ultimate role in decarbonising the bulk of heat across the UK’s cities, towns and buildings. As we embark on the journey towards regulation, heat network zoning and the expansion of existing schemes, the ADE is very glad to see government supporting sector growth and high industry standards.

“Heat networks are a key solution in the mix of technologies that will make up the energy system of the future – not only will they be essential in decarbonising our homes and offices, factories and shops, but without them, the UK will not be able to build the truly resilient and flexible grid needed for the future.”


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