Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is a District Heating Network?
A district heating scheme comprises a network of insulated pipes used to deliver heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from the point of generation (usually an energy centre) to the end user.
Networks vary in size and length, carrying heat just a few hundred metres between homes and flats, to several kilometres supplying entire communities and industrial areas. The distance a network can reach is also easily extended by simply adding more providers of heat, or ‘heat sources’, along the way.

A heat network enables valuable energy, which is all too often wasted in power generation or industrial processes, to be captured and supplied to householders and businesses. This removes the need for additional energy to be generated. It also allows for economies of scale, as the generation of heat in one large plant can often be more efficient than production in multiple smaller ones.

Heat networks can be supplied by a diverse range of sources including:

  • power stations
  • energy from waste (EfW) facilities
  • industrial processes
  • biomass and biogas fuelled boilers and CHP plants
  • gas-fired CHP units
  • fuel cells
  • heat pumps
  • geothermal sources
  • electric boilers and even solar thermal arrays

Q: What are the benefits? 
The ability to integrate diverse energy sources means customers are not dependent upon a single source of supply. This helps guarantee reliability, continuity of service and can introduce an element of competition into the supply chain. It also allows for decarbonisation of the heat source in the long term. 

Networks also have the ability to balance the supply and generation of heat, across location and over time. Over the course of the day, heat demand shifts between residential consumers to commercial, industrial and public buildings and back again. A heat network can match and manage these flows, whilst maximising the utilisation of the plant providing the heat. Demand can also be managed across seasons, with networks supporting the operation of distributed absorption cooling plants in the summer providing cooling on a significant scale.

Q: How many heat networks are there?
There are over 17,000 heat networks in the UK of which around 91% are located in England and 6% in Scotland. There are nearly 492,000 connections in total including 446,517 domestic customers, 33,273 commercial customers, 4,670 retail customers, 320 light industrial customers, 1,456 universities and school and a further 4,865 mixed use networks.

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Q: What is the KBP Low Carbon Energy Park vision?
The delivery of our KBP Low Carbon Energy Park Vision will financially and environmentally benefit all businesses located on the park.  

It is envisaged that KBP will by 2020 demonstrate a range of features that enable it to take a competitive lead as the City Region’s first Low Carbon Energy Park.  These include:-    

  1. Securing energy costs savings through efficient energy generation and supply, and competitive tariffs for heat and power to as many KBP businesses that wish to engage as is economically possible.
  2. Ensuring a good and long-term return on investment in energy infrastructure and associated services.
  3. Developing and implementing a long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions in conjunction with the DNO SP Energy Networks.
  4. To be renowned as a best practice example of a Low Carbon Energy Park in the UK and so be promoted as such to existing businesses, future potential tenants and the local community.
  5. Supporting the delivery of Social Value to Knowsley’s communities, especially those located adjacent to KBP e.g. to tackle fuel poverty, advancing education and training, and the provision of local supply chain business growth opportunities.
  6. Attracting businesses operating in the low carbon and energy management sectors to locate to the Park in order to establish a centre of excellence hub for such innovation.
  7. Demonstrating an ethical, strong and transparent governance structure that involves the KBP businesses and the Council.
  8. Proactively identifies and flexibly responds to changes in policy, practice and consumer needs.

For further information contact: Rupert Casey, Head of Sustainable Resources, Knowsley Council, on 0151 443 2411.

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