My Lords, I declare an interest as president of the Association for Decentralised Energy.
The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of local community structures. This is the great challenge and the great opportunity in decarbonising heat, for heat is, at its heart, local. The best solution to decarbonising heat in any area is specific to, and determined by, that area. Coupled with the Government’s commitment to improve energy efficiency in homes, schools and hospitals, locally driven heat solutions will come together to create a decarbonisation landscape.
Heat networks have a unique role in capturing and using otherwise wasted heat. The Government have demonstrated their commitment to heat networks by announcing a new green heat network fund to support, in particular, those using waste heat. An example is a project in Enfield to supply waste heat to at least 15,000 homes. In due course, that will save 5,700 tonnes per year, equivalent to the carbon sequestered by over 6,000 acres of forest.
During the Heat Networks Industry Council’s launch last week, my right honourable friend the Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, underlined the alignment between government and the industry’s ambitious vision for the role of the heat network sector in delivering a net-zero future. This council is committed to bringing in investment and creating up to 35,000 new jobs. A project in Leeds is specifically committed to new apprenticeships and jobs. It is surely more important than ever to invest in upskilling and retraining to create a green-collar workforce for the future. The heat networks industry is fully committed to playing its part in a fairer, cleaner and more sustainable economy post this pandemic.