Kent County Council is working on a heat network for Maidstone as an important part of its plans for carbon reduction and tackling climate change.
The project team held an event on February 4 to engage with the market to understand private sector appetite for the further development of the project. More than 60 different organisations were in attendance.
A heat network is a distribution system of insulated pipes that takes heat from a central source and delivers it to a number of domestic or non-domestic buildings.
Heat networks currently provide 2% of the UK heat demand but is estimated to rise to 43% by 2050.
The plan, with support from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and AECOM, is to decarbonise the heating for County Hall, the main KCC offices in Maidstone.
This includes Sessions House and Invicta House in addition to the Kent History and Library Centre. The heat network will also look to include the planned development at Maidstone East and HM Prison Maidstone.
It is planned that water source heat pumps in the River Medway will provide the majority of the heat to the buildings.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “This is an incredibly exciting and ground-breaking project and our energy team have been working closely with the Ministry of Justice and the government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit to develop the project.
“All together these buildings create an opportunity for deployment of a concentrated energy network, including a low temperature heat network, providing hot water to buildings to serve their space heating and domestic hot water demands.
“The entire scheme would be delivered over a period of time, with the core scheme looking to be completed by 2022.
“There could be further extensions south into Maidstone town centre, in addition to extensions to new developments planned along the river Medway.”
The area covered would include Sessions House at 23,000m2, Invicta House at 11,000m2, Kent History and Library Centre at 5,000m2, the adjoining flats at 6,300m2, HMP Maidstone at 29,000m2 and the proposed Maidstone East development at 31,000m2.
Feedback from the event will now be used to develop the procurement and delivery strategy as well as being used to inform the outline business case, which will set the future direction for the development of the proposed project.
The current timetable aims to have the system running by 2022.