Kingston District Heat Network

Find out about the proposed district heat network

A District Heat Network (DHN) is a distribution system of insulated pipes that takes heat from a local source and delivers it to the local area. This is different to a traditional network, like the National Grid network which is made of high-voltage power lines, gas pipelines, interconnectors and storage facilities that together, enable the distribution.

District Heat Networks are not new and have been operating for over 100 years in cities and towns, mainly across mainland Europe and in parts of the UK. They are often powered by coal and gas. Examples in London include the former Battersea Power station and Barbican.

Find out more on the Government's 'What is a heat network?' page.

Cutting carbon emissions

Modern District Heat Network technology is starting to provide a unique opportunity to use different heat sources. For example, using excess heat from industrial processes which would otherwise be wasted. This can also include excess heat generated by transport operations, data centres and hospital facilities.

Heat networks form an important part of the UK’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions from fossil fuel sources, like gas and coal, while helping reduce heating bills for customers. 

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) estimates that around 18% of UK heat will need to come from District Heat Networks by 2050 if the UK is to meet its carbon targets in a cost effective way.

In 2013, the UK government established the Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) to address the capacity and capability challenges which local authorities identified as barriers to heat network deployment in the UK. The Unit provides funding and specialist guidance to local authorities who are developing heat network projects.

What are the benefits of a District Heat Network in Kingston?

Kingston Council, in collaboration with strategic partners including Thames Water, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust Foundation and Kingston University, has been developing proposals for a district heat network.

The network would use wasted heat from Thames Water’s treatment facility at the Hogsmill and supply heat to connections across the borough.

It would deliver heating to over 2,100 newly built homes in the new Cambridge Road Estate in the next 10-15 years, as well as; the new Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Kingston Hospital, Penrhyn Road University Campus, the former Surrey County Hall and the new Unilever headquarters.

The heat network would be part of the borough's strategic and essential utility infrastructure, which would bring multiple environmental and socio-economic benefits for current and future generations of residents and businesses. The environmental benefits would include:

  • Increasing carbon dioxide savings in the borough to reduce adverse impacts of climate change 
  • A better uptake of renewable energy that may help alleviate fuel poverty 
  • Improved air quality
  • Helping to meet the council’s ambitions for the borough’s carbon neutrality by 2038, and the council’s carbon neutral operations by 2030.

There are also a number of socio-economic benefits. These would include:

  • Attracting third party investment, non council tax sourced 
  • Improved energy security and reduction in dependency on fossil fuels
  • Creation of new training and employment opportunities 
  • Giving more businesses and homes access to low carbon, affordable heat
  • Improved building energy ratings.

 Another major advantage of the district heating network is that it could be connected to other district heat systems which will be developed in future. New users could be added over time, meaning that all users will benefit from improved efficiency and improved costs.

For further information please refer to the Kingston District Heating Network supporting documents.

Last Modified: 14/01/2023 13:11:53