News updates and FAQs
Our Feasibility Study is now well underway with our external consultants gathering data on homes in Shoreham in a variety of ways:
- publicly available information eg EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates)
- the questionnaire about energy use and insulation in your homes
- specialist software
- brief energy surveys of about 16 properties representative of the housing stock in the village.
Information about your property is vital, regardless of what fuel or heating system you use now. This will ensure that the system would reflect the needs of the whole village.
Thank you very much for your support.
Frequently asked questions
The purpose of a Stage 1 feasibility study is to assess options and recommend the most viable. If this proves that the proposal is worth pursuing further, we will apply for a larger Stage 2 design grant. Then we would move to final design, procurement, financing and construction. Answers to questions will therefore become much clearer through the process.
How many similar projects have been completed?
There are hundreds of heat networks in Britain, often capturing waste heat from incinerators or power generation. There are some village-wide ground source heat projects in development and one under construction, with applications rising rapidly.
Although BHESCo has completed 58 low carbon projects, none are exactly like the Shoreham project. They have been working on similar heat network projects with 3 villages in the South East at different stages of development. Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire is the most advanced village-wide project of its kind in the UK with homes due to be connected to the ground and air source heat network in March 2022. Swaffham Prior is slightly smaller than Shoreham (300 homes), yet similar in its housing stock, being on chalk and the fact that it is off the gas grid.
To what extent will success of the project depend on government grants?
Government subsidy is essential. The Heat Networks Delivery Unit has funded 250 projects, generally small pilots, from 2013. This is being superseded by the current government’s Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) with £270m, targeting larger projects with a minimum of 100 homes.
How many boreholes would be needed?
This depends on whether accessing the aquifer or the sewer under Shoreham is feasible. Geological surveys suggest that there is a large aquifer here, meaning that the network might only need a few boreholes. Heat energy would be absorbed from the aquifer water but the water itself would be reinjected, unchanged, back into the aquifer.
If neither the aquifer nor the sewer is suitable, then we would probably need more than 100 boreholes. Afterwards, the land would be suitable for grazing but not arable purposes and should not compromise green belt status.
Will we need bigger radiators?
This depends on the water temperature circulating, which will become clearer with the Feasibility Study. Swaffham Prior has planned for water at 72°C, which has encouraged take up as no changes to existing radiators are necessary, but would mean a high energy output from the central plant and could affect economic viability.
What support will there be for owners of listed buildings in Shoreham?
We plan to bring owners of listed buildings together to share their experience and make their arguments more forceful with planners. Advice will also be sought from relevant experts eg Historic England and Histoglass (a specialist glazing company for period properties).
Alan Davies would welcome contact from owners of listed buildings. Please contact him at email@example.com
How many homes would need to sign up for the project to be viable?
This assessment is a key part of the Feasibility Study. A minimum of 100 would be needed in order to unlock government subsidies. For Crowhurst, in Sussex, the subsidy under the Green Heat Network Fund could be £2.1m.
What are the timescales for a Shoreham Green Heat Network?
Years. If Stage 1 (the Feasibility Study) is successful, we would move to a grant-funded Stage 2 (Design) and then construction. Swaffham Prior, the most advanced UK project of this type, required 4 years in total.
Who will manage the network and maintain the equipment, assuming this project is successful?
When the time comes, an experienced organisation will need to be identified to take on the role of a utility which owns, operates and maintains the equipment as well as billing customers for the heat they use. There are a number of choices available, including not-for-profit organisations. The choice for us will be made in consultation with the community. For Swaffham Prior, it is Cambridgeshire County Council. Budgets for maintenance, repair and replacement are built into the rates charged.
I've got another question!
Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer them here if we can - or do our best to find someone who can.