District heating

Hove Civic Society supports steps that increase renewable heat and power in the city; we believe this is essential in future-proofing our city, reducing our carbon footprint and keeping consumers’ utility bills as low as possible.

The gas-fired modern Shoreham power station generates electricity, but heat generated in the process (cooling water) is discharged into the sea. We believe that the energy contained in the cooling water could make a substantial contribution to the heating needs of the city, for example, via a district heating system.

The Society's secretary John Kapp has prepared a paper on this issue: Is whole city Combined Heat and Power / District Heating green? Download (Word file)

Shoreham Power Station, with boats moored alongside

We realise that such a system would be costly and disruptive over a number of years. However, we believe that rising energy prices may well make it a worthwhile undertaking. The Society is lobbying for a proper engineering study to be carried out to establish the feasibility of using this waste heat.

The water near the power station is twice the temperature of the surrounding area, and the Society's secretary John Kapp regularly swims there.

Media coverage (external links):

  • Meridian News (March 2012):

Members of the Renewable Infrastructure Group swimming in the sea

Parliamentary questions

We have been in contact with our local MP Mike Weatherley on this issue, and he has forwarded our questions to Ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

On 19th October 2012, he received a written answer (external link) from Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change to a question on:

  • the development of guidance on the EU draft directive that requires all towns to have a heat plan by the end of 2013

Gregory Barker: Article 14 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive requires member states to conduct a detailed assessment of the national potential for district heating and cooling, including mapping heating and cooling demand and supply points by 31 December 2015. This Article also requires that, when authorising new or substantially refurbished installations, member states shall, ensure that a cost benefit assessment is conducted considering the case for recovering industrial waste heat for use in district heating. The directive does not require individual towns to develop heat plans and will not start to take effect until 2014.

As the directive has not yet been published our plans for its transposition are at an early stage. Transposition of the cost benefit assessment requirements appears to lend itself best to implementation via the Environmental Permitting regime, which would be likely to include development of guidance for applicants for permits. The Government envisages consulting on transposing regulations and draft guidance in mid 2013.

DECC published “The Future of Heating: A strategic framework for low carbon heat in the UK” (external link) in March 2012.

Alongside this, the Department published a national heat map (external link) which maps heat demand in industry and public, commercial and residential buildings, as well as indicating the location of powerplant and combined heat and power schemes as potential sources of heat.

We are now developing a heat policy publication for March 2013, building on this earlier work. This will cover the utilisation of waste heat and optimal levels of district heating in the UK.

On 18th October 2012, he received a written answer (external link) from Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change to a question on:

  • burying district heating pipes in the streets for combined heat and power and district heating scheme

Gregory Barker: The Department is working with a range of local authorities, cities, trade associations, energy service companies and other key stakeholders to identify barriers and issues around the installation of heat networks. The practical arrangements for permission to install district heating will be one of the issues addressed in our forthcoming policy document on low carbon heating. There are currently no special arrangements in place for the installation of heat pipes under streets, railway lines or waterways.

On 18th June 2012, he received a written answer (external link) from Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change to a question on:

  • promoting combined heat and power and district heating schemes through mandatory connections

Gregory Barker: We are exploring ways to promote the development of low carbon combined heat and power and district heating as part of our ongoing heat strategy work to decarbonise heating in the UK.

We are currently involved in EU negotiations of the draft energy efficiency directive.

The directive includes provisions exploring opportunities for connection of CHP and district heating where cost-effective.

On 14th June 2012, he received written answers (external link) from Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, to questions on:

  • the rate of return on capital for combined heat and power and district heating schemes

Gregory Barker: Various fuel types and technologies can be used for CHP and for district heating, at a number of different scales. Therefore, rates of return on capital are dependent on particular circumstances and vary considerably between different schemes. Following the publication of a Strategic Framework for Heat, officials in the Department are looking closely at barriers to the development of CHP and heat networks, including but not restricted to commercial and economic issues such as rates of return.

  • plans to provide grants to fund feasibility studies for combined heat and power and district heating schemes

Gregory Barker: We are currently working with a number of cities exploring the potential for low carbon heat networks to consider ways in which the Department can assist their development.

  • the possibility of extending the Renewable Heat Incentive to waste heat from power stations

Gregory Barker: The primary purpose of the RHI is to increase renewable heat generation in order to contribute to our legally binding EU 2020 renewable energy target as set out in the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Heat rejected by power stations comes from fossil or nuclear fuels and is not classified as renewable under the RED.

As set out in the strategic framework for low carbon heat, published in March, we are keen to promote the recovery and re-use of heat, including from power stations. In the strategy we undertook to consult on policy proposals by March 2013. We are investigating options to support this form of heating as part of these proposals.

  • the possibility of reclassifying waste heat from power stations as a renewable resource

Gregory Barker: Heat rejected from power stations comes from fossil or nuclear fuels so it is not classified as renewable under the Renewable Energy Directive.

As set out in the strategic framework for low carbon heat, published in March, we are keen to promote the recovery and re-use of heat, including from power stations. In the strategy we undertook to consult on policy proposals by March 2013. We are investigating options to support this form of heating as part of these proposals.

  • what assessment has been made of the contribution of combined heat and power and district heating to reductions in carbon emissions

Gregory Barker: As recorded in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2011, combined heat and power (CHP) reduced carbon emissions by 13 million tonnes of CO2 in 2010 when compared against electricity generated from fossil fuels. CHP saved 9.3 million tonnes CO2 when compared to all fuels, including renewables and nuclear.

These figures include district heating schemes that are connected to CHP plants. We currently do not have data on district heating schemes fuelled from non-CHP sources.

On 13th June 2012, he received a written answer (external link) from Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, to a question on:

  • visits and research by the department related to any cities in Europe which are seeking to become zero carbon through the promotion of combined heat and power technology

Gregory Barker: DECC Ministers and senior officials have visited a number of European cities including in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, as well as pioneering cities in the UK, to learn more about various low carbon options including CHP. Officials keep abreast of international developments as part of their evidence-gathering to inform development of the Government's long term heat strategy.