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The heat networks industry can play a big role in helping the UK reach our net zero carbon targets and at the same time attract up to £30-50bn investment into the industry and create around 20-35,000 new direct jobs. We are growing and by 2050, this is our vision.

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 What can heat networks offer? 

Creating investment and jobs:

  • The investment, skills and supply chain growth necessary for 18% of UK heat demand to be met through heat networks by 2050;

  • 20,000-35,000 new direct jobs in the sector by 2050;

  • Investment of up to £50bn into the UK market by 2050;

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Accelerating carbon reduction:

  • Net zero carbon networks for all new schemes by 2030 

  • All new and existing heat networks are net zero carbon by 2035;

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Delivering consistent and excellent customer experience:


  • Consistent and excellent customer experience for all heat network users, with the overriding principle of treating customers fairly

  • And including guaranteed standards of performance, without a cost premium to the customer, at standards better than equivalent premium gas boiler heating services

Supporting the creation of smart, liveable cities: 

  • City-wide strategic heat network plans for all major cities by 2030;

  • Efficient and low cost, digitally-enabled heat for all networks;

  • Heat networks will be a net contributor to better air quality

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Developers and planners will assume that all new buildings in heat dense areas will connect to existing heat networks, and this will be easy to do as a result of planning policies introduced in the 2020s.

Homes and buildings that previously used fossil generation to meet their needs will have longsince been retrofitted onto low carbon heat networks, with consumers having been able to understand their decarbonisation pathways and make the choices that were right for them.


Consumers will have the same confidence in their networked heating, its reliability, and associated service and protection as they do today in their boilers.

Underutilised waste heat will be a thing of the past, with 100% of waste heat produced near heat networks redeployed as heat for consumers. Net zero heat networks will be the norm, making use of ambient heat opportunities as well as waste heat.


Heat networks will be integral to the UK energy system’s security and resilience. They will help mitigate the need for electricity network reinforcement and extension and provide flexibility to help balance the system.


The low carbon heat industry will be thriving, attracting inward investment and offering competitive employment opportunities. Innovation and technological advances will be constantly pushing boundaries, striving to deliver increasingly decarbonised, reliable, low-cost heat.

By 2050, low carbon heating will be the norm, and heat networks will constitute a key segment of this. It will be normal for homes and businesses in towns and cities to be on heat networks, and consumer awareness of heat networks will be high.





Q: What is the Heat Networks Industry Council?

A: Heat Networks have a hugely important role to play in the decarbonisation of our energy system. For example, by 2050, around 20% of the UK’s heat demand will be delivered by heat networks, with many homes and buildings that traditionally relied upon fossil fuels fitted onto low carbon district heating schemes. To realise the full potential of heat networks in the UK and make this positive, low carbon vision for the future a reality, government and industry must work together to ensure the best outcomes for people and planet. The Industry Council represents key stakeholders in the heat networks sector working together to put forward a coherent ask and offer to Government, so that we can work effectively together towards a cleaner, fairer future energy system.

Q: Who is in the Heat Networks Industry Council?

A: The HNIC is comprised of key stakeholders from across the heat networks sector, including heat network developers and operators, who are working closely with government and the public sector. A full list of HNIC members can be found here.

Q: Who does the Heat Networks Industry Council Represent?

A: Each member of the Heat Networks Industry Council is representing their company, and together the Council constitutes a significant and growing group of industry players who have come together to demonstrate they are ready to lead by example and take the sector forward. The Council members and signatories can be found here. The Council encourages heat network companies in the UK to sign up to join the Council and the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), on behalf of the Council, will maintain a public updated list of signatories.

Q: What is a heat network?

A: Heat networks deliver cost effective, low carbon heat in the form of hot water or steam, from a central point of generation to the end user through a network of insulated pipes. In the UK today there are around 14,000 heat networks, with significant plans for expansion as part of the broader commitment to meeting net zero carbon emissions. The heat networks sector is currently largely unregulated, though The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Scottish Government have committed to introducing further regulation to the heat networks market.

Q: What is the evidence supporting heat networks and their contribution to decarbonisation in the UK?

A: Well-designed networks utilising thermal stores, co-generation and system optimisation can deliver warmth, cooling and security of supply to our homes and businesses. As heat networks are fuel agnostic, their construction can be seen as a “no-regrets” option for heat demand in the future, regardless of decarbonisation pathways. Heat networks also offer an opportunity to utilise wasted heat. According to research done by the Greater London Authority, the heat wasted in London is sufficient to meet 38% of its own heat requirements; heat networks offer an opportunity to capture and redeploy this waste heat into usable heat. The HNIC have been working closely with the Association for Decentralised Energy, who have an carried out extensive research into the potential of heat networks and their part in the decarbonisation of our energy system. Find their publications here.

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Ana Maria Noguera

Heat Networks Industry Council Programme Manager

Heat Networks Industry Council