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New scheme to help cut fuel poverty and tackle climate change

Sustainable West Northants

09 August 2023

A person placing their hand on the top of a radiator

West Northamptonshire Council is pushing ahead with a plan to harness renewable and wasted heat to tackle fuel poverty and make the Northampton area a more sustainable place.

It has announced work on a Sustainable Heat Network Feasibility Study to explore the possibility of a district heating system that can deliver lower-cost, low-carbon heat to homes and businesses.

District heating collects warmth from a variety of sources and uses a distribution system of insulated pipes to carry it from a central source to multiple buildings.

This can significantly reduce heating costs and carbon emissions compared with traditional heating solutions which use electricity or burn fossil and other fuels.

This Sustainable Heat Network Feasibility Study represents a significant step towards our ambitious goal of becoming a net zero area by 2045 while supporting our residents and businesses.

By exploring sustainable heat solutions, we can tackle the impacts of fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions, and foster economic resilience within our community.
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Council Leader

To bring this vision to life, West Northamptonshire Council has secured £112k from round 12 of the Government’s Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU) funding.

The project will also be match-funded by contributions of £20k from Northamptonshire Partnership Homes and £40k from the council’s Public Health team.

The project, built on work originally launched by Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS, now Department for Energy Security & Net Zero) in 2019, will now focus on the Northampton and Rothersthorpe Village area.

Its aims are to:

  • Update the previous BEIS report, to include data from those located within the wider boundary now covered by the project
  • Investigate opportunities for multiple energy centres, including recoverable heat from different sources such as commercial activities, sewer network heat recovery, and water bodies
  • Produce a detailed feasibility study highlighting sustainable heat generation options, costs for providing the heat network, carbon savings, potential energy costs for users, operating costs, income and commercial viability,
  • Identify where West Northamptonshire and other social housing stock can be supplied with heat from the network.

Sustainable engineering firm, Ramboll, will work on the project with infrastructure consultancy, AECOM, following a competitive bidding process.

Heat accounts for approximately 50 per cent of the UK’s energy demand, making projects to decarbonise heating critical to meeting net zero targets.

Ramboll has significant experience in planning and implementing heat networks to efficiently recover waste heat to provide clean, green, safe, and reliable heating and hot water to local properties.

We are looking forward to identifying the best opportunities for West Northamptonshire Council to realise their low-cost, low-carbon heating ambitions for the economic and social benefit of its residents.
Evagelos Korais, Associate at Ramboll
Heat networks have a huge potential to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs for consumers.

We’re pleased to be working with Ramboll to support West Northampton Council’s decarbonisation agenda and accelerate its transition to net zero.
Rodrigo Matabuena, Project Manager at AECOM

Upon completion, the feasibility study will provide critical data on sustainable heat sources, technical and financial costs, and potential funding opportunities.

The council aims to apply for funding from HNDU round 13 to cover the detailed project development phase based on the study's findings.

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