In a significant boost for the town’s sustainability efforts, Huddersfield has been awarded a grant of over £8 million for the commercialisation and construction of the Huddersfield District Energy Network (HDEN) from the Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF).

The GHNF, a capital grant fund launched by the Government last year, aims to accelerate the development and growth of the heat network market while addressing the challenges of decarbonising the UK’s heat sector.

This latest funding adds to the previous support received for the project, including £300,000 from the BEIS Heat Network Delivery Unit.

The substantial grant of £8.2 million comprises an initial £1 million for commercialisation and an additional £7.2 million for the construction of the network, contingent upon the successful completion and approval of the commercialisation stage.

The commercialisation phase will encompass final technical design work, procurement and commercial arrangements, as well as determining the prospective customers for the HDEN, which is a council-led initiative.

The HDEN is designed to harness heat from the existing Energy-from-Waste (EfW) plant located in Huddersfield, as outlined in the Resources and Waste Strategy.

An underground network of pipes will distribute this low-carbon heat to various public and private buildings in the town centre, thereby providing an eco-friendly heating solution.

During its inaugural year, the HDEN is projected to generate 7.6GWh of low-carbon heat. This figure is expected to rise to 14.2GWh in the second year and further to 21.7GWh in the third year.

The network’s contribution will play a crucial role in Huddersfield’s ambitious target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2038, a goal set following the declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019.

The HDEN’s design also accounts for future expansion and potential connections to other heat sources, ensuring long-term sustainability.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the project, Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for the Environment, stated, “District Energy Networks, also known as Heat Networks, are widely recognized as one of the most effective ways of decarbonising the local heat supply in built-up urban areas. We acknowledge the challenges posed by climate change in our district and are actively implementing measures to become Net Zero and ‘climate ready’ by 2038, for the benefit of Kirklees residents, wildlife, landscape, and biodiversity.”

Echoing this sentiment, Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, emphasized the substantial impact of the HDEN, remarking, “The scale of the Huddersfield District Energy Network (HDEN) would contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of Huddersfield Town Centre and our 2038 targets. It will also provide the town with greater energy resilience and control over the local heat supply, along with the potential for future expansion.”

Moving forward, officials will commence the development of the full business case, which will subsequently be presented to both the Cabinet and GHNF for approval. The Huddersfield District Energy Network represents a transformative initiative that aligns with national sustainability objectives, paving the way for a greener and more resilient future for the town and its residents.