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What is an open access heat network?

Posted by Ian Allan

Thursday 9th January, 2020

Committee of Climate Change Letter to PM - What does this mean for heat networks?

Posted by Ian Allan

On the back of the General Election 2019 and just before the year came to a close, Lord Deben and Baroness Brown wrote to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to congratulate him on his election victory, but also to highlight the importance of his promise in relation to the environment.


Prime Minister’s promise:

“to make this country the cleanest, greenest on earth, with the most far-reaching environmental programme … you the people of this country voted to be carbon-neutral in this election – you voted to be carbon-neutral by 2050. And we’ll do it.” – Boris Johnson


The Letter and how it effects heat networks

Climate Change needs to be embraced by Cabinet

Within the letter the CCC state that climate change requires the commitment of the full Cabinet, not a single Minister and a joined-up effort is needed to tackle the causes and effects.

We fully support the emphasis the letter placed on joined-up thinking across all Ministries in the Government. The Government has set the target of heat networks providing 18% of heat by 2050, however, this target could be compromised by the unintended consequence of decisions being made on SAP 10 and Building Regulations. We need a joined-up policy, otherwise this could only overly constrain the roll out of heat networks due to a lack of undisputed understanding of them.


Urgency is at the essence

The CCC state “we don’t have the time to wait for new technological innovations to be the solution as these are only part of the answer”. They state we should be working with already tried and tested methods putting policies into play and that action is being taken, whilst ongoing research of alternative solutions are underway.

We also welcome the call to use existing technologies now. Heat networks are a “no regret option” that can deliver low carbon heating now. They are fuel agnostic and can be adapted in the future to take advantage of new technologies as they become available.  

UK Action to Adapt to Climate Change Assessment

The CCC’s recent assessment of UK’s action to adapt climate change concluded that the UK are worryingly unprepared for the changes ahead and urges the Government to manage the risks from extreme heat. 

Overheating is also addressed and again heat networks can offer a solution where natural ventilation is not an option. Heat networks can provide low carbon cooling, indeed in many continental countries that generally see more extreme temperature swings between summer and winter than we do in the UK (or have done in the past)  the same heat network provides heat in the winter and is then flipped over to cooling in the summer – food for thought.


We at Switch2 look forward to seeing how the Government’s Net-Zero plans unfurl over the coming months and years and will continue to work towards making advancements in the regulation of heat networks and district heating.

Ian Allan

Head of Market Strategy

Areas of expertise:

• Industry challenges and issues • Heat Network Regulations • Smart metering

• Innovation in heat networks • Tariff setting • Energy prepayment • Digital innovation

• Data management • Automated Meter Reading (AMR) • Heat Interface Units

• International district heating • Compliance & best practice standards

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