Cardiff and Bridgend are the first councils in Wales to be awarded funding from the government’s £320m HNIP scheme to accelerate the development of district heating networks
Plans to develop heat networks in Cardiff and Bridgend took a major step forward today, after being awarded £8m from the government's Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP) fund.
The district heating schemes are set to transition hundreds of buildings across the two metropolitan areas away from fossil fuel heating, slashing bills for consumers and generating signficant carbon reductions.
Triple Point Heat Network, the London-based investment firm selected by the government to administer its £320m HNIP fund, said the councils were the first in Wales to be awarded funding under the scheme.
"Heat networks form an important part of the UK government's plan to reduce carbon emissions and cut heating bills for consumers," Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said. "This £8m investment will help heat hundreds of homes and buildings using cheaper, greener energy across Bridgend and Cardiff."
Cardiff Council has bagged £6.6m from the fund to build a heat network that aims to pipe heat from a local energy-from-waste plant to 11 commercial and public sector buildings.
Meanwhile, Bridgend County Council won £1.2m to commercialise and construct a heat network that will deliver heat to an unspecified number of public sector buildings.
Both of the schemes will be designed to expand over time, according to Triple Point, in order to maximise their carbon saving potential.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng emphasised that carbon savings set to be achieved by the two projects would help the UK meet its 2050 net zero emission target. "Projects in Bridgend and Cardiff will help connect as many homes and businesses as possible to low carbon affordable heating," he said. "By cutting bills and emissions, we can achieve our net zero target in a way that works for residents across the UK."
Heat networks are one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions from heating. The government's climate advisors the Committee on Climate Change estimates that roughly 18 per cent of UK heat will need to come from heat networks by 2050 if the UK is to meet its net zero target.
Decarbonisation of heat presents a major challenge for Wales, with more than a third of its population living in rural areas where heat networks - which rely on high heat density - are not suitable.
As such, the government has identified 14 'priority areas' across the country - among them Bridgend and Cardiff - which it deems amenable to the low carbon heating solution.
Triple Point project director Ken Hunnissett confirmed today that there were a number of other heat network projects across Wales interested in HNIP funding.
"We look forward to continuing to work with Bridgend and Cardiff," he said. "With at least eight more Welsh schemes in our pipeline, we are excited about the future of heat networks in Wales."
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