Scaling up heat networks: Investors are confident, but developers show caution, according to new research

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Looking into the opportunities presented by heat networks, a new report published paints a contrasting picture amongst investors and developers. 

Commissioned by independent UK law firm Burges Salmon, the research reveals that 69% of investors see heat networks as attractive prospects, and 61% are confident of the returns they can generate.

Conversely, the data suggests developers are more cautious in shaping up risk profiles, with only 45% believing heat networks to be attractive and just 41% expecting to see them generate sustained investment.

The report, Getting to Net Zero - The potential for heat networks in our communities, collates the views of 80 UK-based investors and developers, as well as in-depth interviews with Equitix, Related Argent, Hemiko, SSE and Asper, to gather insights and experiences of funding and developing heat networks projects in the UK and Europe. The report comes at a time when the Government is preparing to publish the findings of its public consultation on heat networks zoning proposals in England, to attract investment and allow local communities to access, at pace, cheaper, greener heat.

Charles Robson, Director at Burges Salmon and head of the firm's Clean Heat practice, commented: 'Successful low carbon heat networks projects in countries like Denmark, one of the world's most energy efficient countries, are well documented, and whilst these are nascent markets in the UK, our research highlights enthusiasm amongst investors for the use of this technology to unlock large-scale renewable energy opportunities. It's important to recognise that the detail investors and developers need is still being developed, and government will use the responses to its zoning consultation to shape the regulations and get this right.'

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