District heating and energy services
District heating schemes give a local authority the opportunity to directly influence the physical energy use and supply arrangements within its area.
A district heating scheme provides heat from a central source to more than one building, dwelling or customer and is an alternative to providing individual heating systems to each dwelling. A scheme consists of a central heat source a heat distribution network and installations within dwellings. Schemes can vary in size from a few dwellings to city-wide networks with customers from a broad range of sectors.
There are many reasons why a local authority may want to investigate district heating some of which are listed below:
For a local authority there are a range of policy and legislative requirements that impact on energy, from national, regional and local levels. To comply with these requirements a local authority may have to take a more proactive role in determining how energy is used and supplied within its jurisdiction.
The management of energy use, particularly in buildings, can be one of the most accessible means of reducing carbon emissions. District heating schemes can be a means of delivering material, measurable carbon reductions within an area.
A home owner is considered to be living in fuel poverty if more than 10% of household income is spent on heating the home. Contributing factors to fuel poverty are high energy prices and thermally inefficient homes. By delivering energy more cheaply and efficiently, district heating schemes can lessen the impact and prevalence of fuel poverty.
The delivery and operation of district heating schemes creates both employment and investment in the local area. Cost savings from cheap reliable energy can also benefit businesses connected to the scheme.
Security of supply
Conventional energy customers are exposed to a number of risks and reliability of supply concerns, including power cuts and fluctuations in energy prices. Generating energy locally can potentially reduce these risks, in particular when provided as part of a package of measures to reduce energy consumption.
There are several options available to a local authority when looking at delivering a district heating scheme including setting up and Energy Services Company. Energy Services Companies (ESCos) are companies contracted to provide heat and power to consumers rather than selling fuel or electricity.
The Project delivery section of this website provides guidance on the stages you will need to go through in order to establish a district heating/ ESCo scheme within your authority and offers advice at each stage.