Bolton residents’ homes heated by sewer power

UK Government promotes Sewer power

Image depicting green energy. Credit: Castleski/

Could the answer to sustainable heating lie beneath the streets? 

In a significant move towards greener and more affordable heating solutions, the UK government has announced a substantial investment of £80.6 million in innovative Green Heat Network projects.

On Thursday, 25 January, the government allocated £11 million to a pioneering project in Bolton, aiming to harness waste heat from the town’s sewers.

This venture, part of Bolton’s inaugural district heating network, will utilise energy from sewage and residual hot water from domestic sources like washing machines and kitchens.

The scheme promises to offer cost-effective warmth to local homes and businesses, including the University of Bolton and the Town Council.

Harnessing renewable energy sources

‘These innovative projects will help drive down energy costs while also demonstrating why the UK has led the way in cutting carbon emissions,’ said Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance.

Speaking of the unusual heating source, he added: ‘They show how energy sources can be found in the most unexpected places – as more homes and businesses will benefit from cleaner heating and lower energy bills.

‘Our upgrades will also make sure our existing heat networks are upgraded – so customers can get the reliable heating supply they deserve.’

Nationwide impact and environmental benefits

This initiative is one of four such projects receiving government grants. Others include the Exeter Energy Network, gaining £42.5 million for a heat network using air source heat pumps and a large high-temperature water source heat pump.

The Hull East District Heat Network, awarded £22 million, will utilise excess heat from a nearby chemicals park.

Additionally, the Greenwich Peninsula ESCO District Heating Network in London will connect over 9,000 homes and vast commercial spaces to low-carbon heating, backed by a £4.6 million grant.

Heat networks, which provide heating and hot water through centralised sources, are crucial for reducing carbon emissions. They replace the need for individual, energy-intensive heating systems like gas boilers.

The UK’s commitment to these networks is vital in its quest to lower building-related emissions, which currently constitute 30 per cent of the country’s total emissions.

Enhancing efficiency and reliability

The government is also investing over £8 million in the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme to upgrade 34 inefficient heat networks. This funding will enhance network reliability and service, benefiting thousands across England and Wales.

Among the beneficiaries are Newport City Homes Housing Association Limited, receiving £3.7 million to improve the Duffryn District Heating System, and Bristol Heat Networks Limited, which will use £746,582 for the Redcliffe Heat Network enhancements.

The University of Plymouth will also receive £243,280 to transition to sustainable heating systems.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.