Kent County Council has received nearly £2.5 million from the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) to develop a low carbon heat network in Maidstone.
The HNIP is a government funding programme aiming to increase the number of heat networks, deliver carbon savings, and generate a sustainable heat network market. The scheme is open to the public, private and third sectors, providing £320 million of funding to help fund heat network projects in England and Wales. The scheme is delivered by Tripple Point Heat Networks investment management.
Kent County Council has been using a methodology from Laser Energy, an internal business unit within the council, to compare different decarbonisation scenarios and identify the most appropriate. The council's investment is supported by HNIP funding and will create a low carbon, deliverable demonstrator project. This will encourage local stakeholders to recognise heat networks as a viable opportunity to decarbonise heat in the town. The opportunity for heat networks within Maidstone and the wider region has not yet been fully exploited, and it is hoped this pioneering project will encourage their wider use.
The Maidstone Heat Network can connect over 24GWh of heat demand as it extends North and South into the town centre. A water source heat pump and gas boiler system supported by a local solar farm will enable the network to transition to net-zero carbon operation. The network has been designed with an oversized thermal store to balance periods of low carbon heat generation and heat demand. It is expected that the heat pump will deliver over half of the network’s heat demand at full capacity. Moreover, the network could connect to additional low carbon heat sources in the future, further reducing emissions.
Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change, said: "Everyone needs to play their part in tackling climate change. Transforming how we heat our homes and workplaces is a vital step we can all make to end our contribution to carbon emissions, with projects like this one in Maidstone showing how whole communities can come together to cut their carbon footprint. As a result of government funding, Kent County Council will drive forward new low-carbon technologies that will make our towns and cities cleaner places to live and work while creating new jobs as we build back greener."
Susan Carey, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "The Maidstone Heat Network is an important part of our work to deliver our Net Zero ambition for both Kent County Council and Kent. It’s the result of several years of work by the Kent County Council Energy Team, and this funding is both a vote of confidence in the project and the concept of heat networks."
With annual carbon savings of around 1,300 tonnes per year over the first 15 years of operation, this network will play a key role in progressing the work already carried out by the council to reduce carbon emissions to net zero. Kent County Council has already successfully reduced carbon emissions by 50% between 2010 and 2020.