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SSE to help decarbonise 5000 homes in major London retrofit project

14 Apr 2023

SSE Energy Solutions has agreed a deal with Berkeley Homes that will help to decarbonise a heat network for up to 5,000 homes in London, thought to be one of the largest retrofits of its kind in the country.

An Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) system will be installed to supply the homes on an existing district heating network at the Woolwich Arsenal site after several options were considered, including the use of waste heat and ground and river source solutions. An ASHP was chosen as the best low carbon, low tariff option over the length of the supply contract.

The system will be installed in nearby Wellington Park where a new landscape will be created through a unique planting scheme that broadens the biodiversity of the area by responding to the microclimate. The ASHP will connect directly to the existing district heating network pipes, reducing the carbon content of the heat provided by the network.

The work, which will get underway in 2025, is a highly significant milestone in the evolution of SSE’s heat networks portfolio and paves the way for decarbonisation work across the remainder of SSE’s expanding UK heat networks.

SSE is a founding member of the Heat Trust (the independent heat customer protection scheme) and the Heat Networks Industry Council (HNIC). HNIC is a group of heat network operators who are working closely with the government to create a policy framework that will unlock heat networks potential to deliver about 20% of the UK’s zero carbon heat by 2050. As part of this work, HNIC members have committed to decarbonise their existing networks by 2035.

The Woolwich Arsenal project represents a model for decarbonisation of existing campus heat networks across the country. SSE is working with clients who have campus heat networks that they need to decarbonise.

Our focus is on designing integrated systems with long term efficiency and performance at the forefront. By maximising the value of local heat resources and combining these with smart energy storage and electricity network solutions, we can deliver low carbon heat at affordable prices.

This retrofit project demonstrates how new heat sources can be harnessed to replace gas fired systems to deliver transformative projects and we think it’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved on networks across the country.

SSE was first awarded the contract to install a gas-CHP powered heat network for 450 customers at Woolwich Arsenal in 2007 and then, following planning permission for a significant expansion of the site, carried out extensive upgrade works in 2013 to enable heat supplies to a wider site.

The decision to install an ASHP will help to future-proof the site with ever more stringent CO2 limiting measures coming into force.