Heat project looks to help communities reach net zero

UK Power Networks (UKPN) is looking to help local communities map out their net zero carbon future at street level by tackling one of the UK’s biggest emitters – heating.

On 17 August, it announced the launch of “Heat Street”, labelling it as a first-of-its-kind project, which will use data to help local authorities in London, the South and East of England plan systems to cater for a substantial rise in low carbon heating and energy efficiency measures. It will see UKPN engineers analyse energy efficiency trends and carry out heat zoning assessments by combining information about the properties, homes and socio-economics of each area. This well then lead to the creation of custom forecasts which can identify the most efficient pathway to zero carbon heating, as well as potentially producing bespoke plans for specific local areas.

A broad range of low carbon heating alternatives will be considered, with Heat Street creating a model for forecasting uptake of the different technologies. This is something that can then be followed by other parts of the UK.

The heat zoning assessments will be based on independent Energy Systems Catapult recommendations where specific areas are “zoned” depending on their best type of net zero pathway. As an example, it outlined how areas with a high number of flats would be less suitable for heat pumps but would benefit from heat networks. In contrast, rural villages not connected to the gas network may be more likely to switch to heat pumps. Efforts to decarbonise heating could then be focused on where benefits can be most efficiently unlocked for customers.