The government has offering up to £39 million to local authorities and public sector bodies to upgrade heating in towns and cities in England and Wales.
It is the first part of a £320 million fund which will be invested in the next five years to supply low carbon and recycled heat and help consumers reduce bills.
It follows a consultation launched in June this year on how best to use the funding to overcome barriers to investment in heat networks and increase deployment.
Heat networks, which will allow cities to recycle the wasted heat they produce from factories, power stations and even the London Underground and pump it into homes and businesses, are said to have the potential to reduce costs by as much as 30%.
Dubbed ‘central heating for cities’, they can also draw their energy from sources like combine heat and power (CHP) plants and biomass boilers.
The pilot will consist of one single competitive funding round and will inform the design of the main scheme, which is expected to open in 2017.
Energy Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “Heat networks can significantly improve the efficiency with which heat is provided to our towns and cities as well as helping to develop local infrastructure and reduce carbon.
“The new scheme will help us to develop viable reforms to make the most of the heat we produce and use it effectively to bring bills down for people across the country.”
Pre-qualification applications will be open until 18th November 2016 and the full application window will be open until 28th November 2016.
Low carbon generation and the role of alternative fuels will be part of the discussions at the Energy Live 2016 conference on November 3rd in London. Limited free tickets available for energy end users and university students.