The role of community energy in reducing carbon emissions from heating #HarnessOurPower

23/06/2020

This article was written by Cat Ansell from Plymouth Energy Community for Community Energy Fortnight.

Last year, Plymouth Energy Community were selected as partners in an exciting new project, through the Interreg programme, called SunPeople. We are exploring new ways to reduce carbon emissions from heating! We think community energy can play an important role in this…

In the UK, the biggest energy use is for heating, even more than for transport or electricity generation. Heating our homes, businesses and industry accounts for 46% of all the energy used in the UK, and accounts for 32% of our carbon emissions. Nearly 70% of our heat is produced from natural gas, a fossil fuel. Therefore, we need to re-think the way we heat our homes and businesses.

Working with Plymouth City Council and our French partners in Lorient, we are exploring combining solar energy and heat pumps as a heating solution. The project will test the idea of providing an energy service approach, in which all that is required to deliver heat (such as the capital and maintenance costs) are covered by another organisation, to encourage the use of these innovative systems and improve the way we heat space and water.

Using pilot sites in Plymouth and Lorient, the project aims to demonstrate this concept as a cost-competitive, sustainable heat energy service. It includes the development of the optimum technical solution as well as the development of a clear commercial business case. We are engaging with a range of market players and stakeholders, from individuals to building owners, supply chains and service providers, to understand the current barriers to implementation and to help develop the best approach. Guidance and resources that are developed, as well as all other learning will be shared with community energy groups, so together we can #HarnessOurPower for a better future!

This is a pilot project, so right now we are just testing the idea for combining heat pumps and solar through a service-based approach. A key part of this project is to get views from market stakeholders to inform this approach, including community energy organisations who could potentially provide energy services. If you are interested, it would be great if you could click on the link to complete our initial survey.

You can keep up to date with the project via our website, or follow the project twitter feed.

We are really excited about this project and hope you are too!