Going mainstream: ade sector conference

Welcome Energy breaks down the Association for Decentralised Energy’s (ADE) conference earlier this month, heat networks in the  post-pandemic UK and how businesses can leverage this technology early to reap the benefits later.

By JOSH ELLISON

Popularity via resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered as one of the greatest economic and logistical disruptions of modern history, not least of which for how  it has exposed the frailties of our energy systems.

Although a rebound now seems likely, the Oil and Gas markets have suffered greatly throughout the crisis as demand has plummeted amid lockdown protocols and market uncertainty continues to spook would-be investors. 

A recurring pattern throughout lockdown has been the resilience of renewable energy sources like wind and solar as well as a growing realisation of humanity’s capability to affect massive change when motivation demands it. 

The unprecedented drop in carbon emissions during lockdown has demonstrated, paradoxically, both the monumental scale of the challenge that climate change presents and our ability to respond to it as a collective.

As such, governments will be under renewed pressure to introduce legislation and incentives that will support the development of green energy supplies and green industry.

Enter the ADE, who’s conference this year was titled “Going Mainstream”, a reference to the Committee for Climate Change’s expectation that heat networks will expand from 2% of UK heating market share to 20% by 2050. 

Joanne Wade, deputy director of the ADE was optimistic about the plausibility of such a massive increase, citing the conditions that COVID-19 has imposed as having set the scene for Heat Network technology:

“The timing’s good, the market is in a unique place at the moment, where we’ve got to achieve significant growth and decarbonise at the same time.”

Wade went on to discuss the means by which such growth would be made possible, citing the introduction of new legislation surrounding sustainability as well as the ADE’s own efforts to create more attractive offerings by way of promised job creation and carbon savings.

Intelligent city design will become an increasing focus as the inefficiencies of society are addressed in order to hasten our journey to net zero. Currently the waste heat produced by the city of London is enough to provide for 38% of the city’s heating needs, if only it were actually utilised.

However, their unique functionality as well as international backing suggests that those opportunities will become more commonplace after COVID-19. The Scottish government has already drafted a Heat Networks bill, with Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, leading the charge.

Welcome Energy brings more than 30 years’ experience in the billing of communal and district heat networks and their financial account management. As heat networks become more of a standard throughout the UK on the path to carbon neutral, we can provide support and expert guidance in monitoring such technologies and ensuring they are effective both financially and logistically.