15 October 18

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy appoints Triple Point as Delivery Partner for its £320m Heat Network Investment Project

Triple Point has been appointed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to the role of Delivery Partner for its Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP).

Triple Point is managing a commitment by BEIS of £320 million in the form of loans and grants, to leverage in an additional £1 billion of additional private and institutional investment. The aim is to accelerate the design and construction of Heat Networks across the UK and help the Government deliver the cost-effective carbon savings required to meet the UK’s future carbon reduction commitments.

As delivery partner, Triple Point will be responsible, among other things, for identifying viable projects from the current c£1 billion pipeline of potential public sector projects as well as other suitable schemes from the public and private sectors, such as residential and commercial property developments and industrial parks.

The firm will also seek to demonstrate that these projects can deliver long-term sustainable market returns to help attract additional institutional and private investment to support the HNIP initiative. Longer-term, unlocking the full private investment potential of the market, which estimates place at being between £16.5 billion and £22 billion by 2030, is a key part of the Government’s strategy.

Investors will benefit from a long term, low-risk investment, with the potential for attractive returns, once the project has become operational, which also has scale-up potential. The investment opportunity capitalises on existing investor experience in combined heat and power systems as well as the lack of alternative investment opportunities in utility-related infrastructure projects.

The Triple Point Heat Networks team is made up of highly-experienced partners each tasked with delivering specific aspects of the HNIP. The team includes: AECOM, the multinational consultant engineering firm, which advises on energy-efficient buildings; Amberside Advisers, consultants to the infrastructure finance industry; LuxNova Partners, a legal firm which focuses exclusively on clean energy; BDO, which will help to identify suitable private projects for investment consideration; Ecuity, a leading sustainable energy advisory service who will provide stakeholder engagement services to the team; and Gemserv, which manages complex projects across the energy sector.  

Heat networks deliver cost-effective, low carbon heat, in the form of hot water or steam, from the point of generation, the central heat source, often referred to as the energy centre, to the end user through a network of insulated pipes. There are many possible technologies that can provide the input to a heat network including power stations, energy from waste (EfW) facilities, industrial processes, biomass and biogas fuelled boilers and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, gas-fired CHP units, fuel cells, heat pumps, geothermal sources, electric boilers and solar thermal arrays.

Also known as district heating, there are already over 14,000 Heat Networks in the UK that supply heat to hospitals, universities, tower blocks and, increasingly, to new urban mixed developments of housing, commercial and public buildings. Major UK cities including Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Coventry, Southampton, as well as in many London boroughs; some of which have been operating for over 50 years.

The heat for such networks can come from a variety of different sources; gas boilers, combined heat and power (CHP) plants (which also provide electricity), geo-thermal plants and recovered waste heat from factories or infrastructure. These can provide carbon savings in the short term and help facilitate an increase in carbon reductions over time because the pipe infrastructure can utilise new lower carbon heat sources in the future. Just as the electricity grid is being made cleaner by decarbonising electricity generation, the aim is to make Heat Networks progressively cleaner.

Providing reliable, affordable energy is central to the UK’s economic success. The UK utilises more energy for heating and hot water in its buildings than for any other purpose. Heat accounts for around a third of UK carbon emissions and almost half of its energy usage.

In order to meet climate change targets, the UK will require the complete or near-complete decarbonisation of heat and is considering ways to generate heat more efficiently. Heat Networks are a well-understood mature technology capable of delivering cheaper heat both now and in a low-carbon future, can be decarbonised with zero impact on the end-consumer, and benefit the wider energy system. The UK Government continues to show strong support for the development of Heat Networks in the UK, and they form a key part of the Clean Growth Strategy and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy through the 2020s.

The global District Heating Market size will exceed USD 250 billion by 2024, an increase of 6%, according to US-based Global Market Insights. This is driven by the rigorous implementation of government regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions and growing measures toward the recycle and reuse of waste energies. District Heating systems are expected to increasingly offer more reliable and economically feasible performance and advancements in technology, and in particular, the development of pre-insulated piping solutions is expected to further facilitate expansion of the industry.