Latest UKDEA & District Energy News


10.20 - 25th January 2012

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and District Energy – a heated debate

Following the launch of the RHI, the district energy industry has been a buzz with debate over whether the incentive does enough to encourage well designed district heating schemes. One of the main issues is that the scheme bases its payment rates on the presumption that as the scheme grows in size, the cost of equipment in terms of each kWh generated reduces. Whilst this is true of many renewable heat technologies, it is not so for district heating, particularly large schemes where there are long stretches of heat pipes and multiple terminations.

The proposal for a heat pipe payment (HPP) is designed to go some way towards supporting the larger schemes as it would generate a higher payment rate for larger schemes which are using more pipe. This suggestion by a member of the UKDEA’s District Energy and District Heating Group on LinkedIn has sparked an interesting debate around the subject and some thought provoking responses.

UKDEA member Keith Riley, from Veolia Environmental Services commented, “The RO and RHI need to be reformed to support energy efficiency. At the moment neither do that - indeed, the RO actually encourages relatively low efficiency technologies.”

Other contributors suggested that there should have been a District Heating element within the RHI for installations of over 1MW that meet certain conditions.

The discussion includes a poll of readers, which currently suggests that over 60% of the voters consider a Heat Pipe Payment (HPP) to be a critical addition to the RHI if it is to truly support large district heating schemes, compared to just 6% who think it would make little difference. The debate is ongoing, so to register your vote or air your views on this topical discussion visit the UKDEA LinkedIn group or submit your views to the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for inclusion.

09.35 - 25th January 2012

Welcome to the UKDEA District Energy News Page

The UKDEA is pleased to announce the introduction of a news page to the website. Featuring news from the UKDEA as well as related District Energy articles. We hope to extend the interest we have been generating on our social networks including discussions in our LinkedIn group and the subjects people are talking about on Twitter, with the addition of this information base. You can keep informed by using our RSS feed.

If you haven’t already done so you can connect with us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter and join our LinkedIn group to be part of the debate. If you have an article would like to see added to the news pages of our website, please submit it to the secretary for inclusion.

10:00, 30th October 2014

Birmingham plans district heating network and vehicle charging


Birmingham plans to create the world’s first city-wide district heating network that will power buildings and electric cars with energy from waste.

Multiple combined heat and power systems already in place across the city will be joined into the Birmingham District Heating Network, powered by biofuel from food waste and sewage sludge processed through a gasification plant operated by the European Bioenergy Research Institute (Ebri).

The network will be enhanced by technology enabling surplus power to be stored in the batteries of electric vehicles.

The project is funded with £1.1m from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and will be carried out by Ebri and Aston Business School, developer Cofely District Energy, delivery agency Cenex Ltd and energy efficiency company Open Energi.

It is part of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s push to boost renewable heat production and usage and will run from January 2015 until June 2017.

As part of the project, an electric vehicle charging infrastructure system will be installed in Birmingham’s city centre with Ebri claiming an electric vehicle such as a Nissan Leaf would be charged to 80% within 30 minutes instead of six to eight hours with a standard domestic connection.

Chris Walsh, ‎head of technical support and consultancy at Cenex, said: “The integration of electric vehicles enabled with bi-directional energy transfer and bio-based generation technologies will offer a new way to generate and dispatch low carbon energy for future electricity networks.”

Ebri said the system could be replicated at more than 900 electrical vehicle charging points throughout the UK.