Cornish heating revolution: Resident becomes first to join underground network

The first resident in the Cornish village of Stithians has been connected to a heat network that draws energy from under the street

A project has connected the first home to an innovative heat network in the village of Stithians in Cornwall.

The project, run by Kensa Utilities and partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund, aims to retrofit new and existing homes with ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) that will draw renewable energy from a communal network of underground pipework.

The project is believed to be the world’s first shared ground array installed on a public highway.

The in-road GSHP network will consist of 42 boreholes drilled to an average depth of 106 metres, allowing homeowners to switch from carbon-intensive fossil fuels to low carbon GSHPs.

With a monthly standing charge similar to existing gas connection fees, customers can access the heat network and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by up to 70%.

The network has been designed to accommodate future connections, making it an ideal solution for households who are not yet ready to change their heating system.

Kensa Utilities’ Managing Director, Wouter Thijssen, called the Heat The Streets initiative a landmark project for the decarbonisation of heating in the UK that replicates the gas network and will provide cheaper and cleaner heat for 100 years.

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