At least one million homes and businesses across England could be heated by using a technology that takes heat from rivers and pumps it into the properties.
A new ‘Water Source Heat Map’ has revealed the “secret energy” lies in more than 4,000 rivers, estuaries, canals and coastal sites across the country, which could provide 6GW of low carbon heat to communities.
Water source heat pumps extract thermal energy from waterways to heat water in homes and businesses, with the capability of slashing a site’s carbon footprint by up to 50%, according to DECC.
Battersea Power Station is looking into installing the technology, which if installed would provide heat to around 4,000 new homes, shops and offices. It is currently working on a feasibility study for the project with Big Six energy firm SSE.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “We need to make the most of the vast amount of clean, renewable heat that lays dormant and unused in our rivers, lakes and seas.
“Doing this will help contribute to an energy mix that maximises clean, reliable home-grown resources rather than relying on foreign fossil fuels. It also provides a system that bolsters growth in our local economies, protects the natural environment and creates resilient communities that are capable of producing sustainable power systems.”
The new online interactive map provides developers and homeowners with information including details of water conditions such as temperature and flow rates as well as the potential heat capacity of each waterway and levels of heat demand across England.