More people will have their homes and businesses heated by renewable, sustainable or recoverable energy sources, as the government gives £3m to 55 local authorities across England and Wales.
The funding will support 74 low-carbon heat projects designed to provide more efficient heat to buildings and potentially lower heating bills in local areas, while also helping to cut carbon emissions, tackle fuel poverty and boost local jobs.
Energy secretary Ed Davey said: “Using wasted heat to warm our buildings is a cost-effective way to cut carbon and slash energy bills.
“This money will help transform the way communities heat their buildings, schools and homes – as well as show how people and councils can work together to boost jobs and investment in their local area.”
The 55 local authorities are the fourth group of successful bidders to be announced as part of the government’s drive to scale up the reach of low-carbon heat through local networks.
If half of the projects are built, it would represent a capital investment of £800m.
The local authorities will be offered grants ranging from around £16,000 to £263,000 to help set up their projects.
The government’s innovative Heat Networks Delivery Unit has been providing grant funding and expert guidance to local authorities since 2013.
Estimates show that around 15% of heat demand could be cost-effectively met by heat networks by 2030, and over 40% by 2050.
The 74 new heat networks will bring the total number of heat network projects benefiting from government grants to 180.