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Shoreham hits the headlines in the Chronicle 25th November 2021! Shoreham hits the headlines in the Chronicle 25th November 2021!

News

We are delighted to report that the Parish Council's application for a grant from the Rural Communities Energy Fund was awarded in full (£40,000) on 5th November 2021. This grant will fund a feasibility study to assess the viability of a heat network in Shoreham. The aim is to identify a future-proofed, low carbon heating solution for homes and businesses village wide.

The funding was awarded by the Rural Community Energy Fund which aims to develop renewable energy projects providing economic and social benefits to communities such as ours.

The success of the bid was underpinned by the enthusiastic encouragement and support of more than 100 residents and local businesses. Their involvement and commitment will be even more important to the success of the next stage of the process.

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 grant for Stage 2, in which a more detailed investigation is undertaken around the most viable option. Then we would move to final design, procurement, financing and construction. Answers to our questions will therefore become much clearer through the process.

How much disruption will be caused to traffic in the village by the need to dig up the roads to lay the underground pipes?

Even if all goes well, it will be several years before we get to this stage. There will be a degree of disruption to traffic when the underground pipes are being installed. But once it is done, we will all be able to benefit for decades to come from the investment that we have made.  In this respect it is just like mains water, sewerage or broadband. In addition, Shoreham will benefit hugely from reduction in traffic due to the absence of heavy vehicles delivering oil or LPG cylinders.

Will I need to insulate my home before I can take advantage of the heat network?

Most of us already know we need to improve the insulation in all our homes as best we can – for the planet and our comfort as well as our pockets, regardless of what type of heating we use. At present most of us use oil or LPG, often much of which is being wasted to compensate for poor insulation.

Improving insulation is an important issue for all of us in parallel with identifying the most viable renewable source of heating and hot water for Shoreham. It is most difficult for those who live in very old properties and there is some useful advice from Historic England. Some are still hopeful that government will renew grant funding for retrofitting insulation.

How much will it cost me?

We don’t yet know.  One of the potential advantages of a village wide scheme is that individual homeowners will not need to come up with a large upfront lump sum. Homeowners will pay only for the heat energy they use if they choose to subscribe. These costs need to be competitive with other forms of heating but with these rising as they are at present, this may well become easier to achieve.

What about other renewables for heating?

Early on in our research, we considered a number of alternatives which have been successful elsewhere. Solar panels have proved very popular and a number of individual buildings have them in Shoreham. However, huge arrays would be inappropriate here, as would wind turbines. Around the coast, tidal systems have the potential to provide massive and consistent amounts of power. Cities and industrial areas have access to waste heat. Some projects use biomass eg wood chips but these still produce carbon dioxide. One engineer noted that one asset available to Shoreham is the sewage pipe running from Sevenoaks to Dartford! This is being assessed in the feasibility study.

Heat pumps have greatest potential to be successful in Shoreham and the feasibility study will focus on ground source benchmarked against the cost of air source pumps. Ground source pumps have the advantage of being hidden underground, .

Why not use hydrogen as a fuel?

If the hydrogen is obtained from water using renewable electricity, then it is a genuinely clean fuel. However, every 1kwh of electric energy used to make hydrogen only results in roughly 0.5kwh of heat energy. Large scale energy-efficient technology for this is still a long way off.

BUT if fossil fuels are used to make the hydrogen, such as methane, then it is far from clean. The current process to produce hydrogen from natural gas involves a reaction with steam at high temperature. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are by-products, and the fossil fuels used to give the high temperature required produce even more carbon dioxide so it is far from being ‘green’. It could be cleaned by storing (sequestering) 100% of the carbon dioxide in some way - again not yet feasible on a large scale.

I've got another question!

Please send your questions to greenheatingshoreham@gmail.com and we will answer them here if we can - or do our best to find someone who can.