Heat Networks

We’re busy building a city-wide, fossil-free heat network across Bristol. The development of the heat network will provide low-carbon, reliable heat to the community while creating jobs and delivering social value. The decarbonisation of heat is also a crucial step in achieving Bristol’s goal to become a carbon-neutral city by 2030.

Vattenfall Heat UK are working with Bristol City Leap to expand the existing network, develop new networks and ultimately interconnect them to create a single Bristol Heat Network.

Vattenfall Heat UK bring investment and proven experience in large-scale, resilient heat networks across Europe. Within five years, over 120 GWh of low-carbon heat will be delivered to customers in Bristol through over £200 million of investment into high-quality, long-term infrastructure across the city.

We look forward to engaging with our partners, the local community, national government and supply chain providers to increase the pace and scale required to support Bristol’s journey to carbon neutrality.

Vattenfall is working with Bristol City Leap to deliver a dependable, comprehensive service for heat network customers at equitable rates. Our approach guarantees fair value, protecting customers from short-term fluctuations in wholesale prices. Discover more about our heat network tariffs by clicking here.

3MW Water Source Heat Pump in Castle Park.

Our 3MW Water Source Heat Pump at Castle Park.

What are heat networks?

Heat networks (sometimes referred to as ‘district heating’) are a network of underground pipes that can deliver reliable, low-carbon heat and energy across cities.

This helpful video below will show you exactly how they work.

Why do we need heat networks?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face. In response to the climate emergency Bristol has committed to becoming a carbon neutral city. Heat networks help us decarbonise how we heat our homes and businesses by replacing fossil fuels with low carbon sources such as energy from waste plants and heat pumps.

Our plans to expand the Bristol Heat Network

Bristol City Leap will develop and expand the heat network to the greatest extent possible whilst ensuring that it offers fair value to customers and supports the overall decarbonisation plans for the city.

These works form part of a major programme of infrastructure investment and we’re minimising disruption by combining the installation of heat pipes with other major developments like planned road works, new commercial developments and the installation of fibre optic broadband in the city.

There are currently two city centre heat networks in operation at Redcliffe and Old Market, with a third under construction in Bedminster. These networks already supply over 15GWh of heat per year across 14 operational connections.

Vattenfall Heat UK will commence construction and then seek to develop and expand heat network areas. Ultimately, our intention is to create a single interconnected, city-wide Bristol Heat Network.

The map below shows areas in the city for heat networks to be delivered and expanded up to the year 2027.

Low Carbon Bristol Map

Our commitments

As part of Bristol City Leap, Vattenfall will provide heat reliably, with excellent standards of service, at a fair price. This is underpinned by contractual commitments covering:

The Government has announced that Ofgem will be appointed as heat network regulator. It is expected that Ofgem’s role as regulator will formally start in 2024. We believe that statutory regulation is important for the heat network sector to protect customers and enhance the maturity of the market.

To prepare for future regulation, Heat Trust has been set-up to provide comparable service standards to the rest of the energy market. Heat Trust is an independent, non-profit consumer champion for heat networks that holds suppliers to account for the benefit of everyone involved.

Our service standards are set to meet those of Heat Trust and where we have direct contracts with domestic customers, we have committed to register our heat networks with Heat Trust.

We are set up to provide a level of service that’s already compliant with future regulation.  For sites where domestic customers are billed by a third party such as the building owner, we will work with those third parties to prepare for forthcoming regulation and encourage them to uphold customer protection standards.

We will provide a robust and resilient supply of heat to buildings.  In the event of an outage, we  aim to restore heat supplies to all customers as quickly as we can. In all cases we will meet or where possible, exceed the minimum requirements under the Heat Trust scheme and any future regulation.

Through the City Leap Partnership, we are committed to maintaining a fair, transparent and clear pricing structure for all our customers. In order to clearly demonstrate value for money, we will maintain a low carbon ‘counterfactual’ that shows customers what they would otherwise be paying for a similar service to supply and maintain heat.

The heat network tariff for the current year is published on Our Heat Network Tariffs page. As part of our tariff review process, future heat charges are communicated in writing to customers in advance. For customers that are billed by a third-party and where we are not the direct heat suppliers, future charges are communicated by their billing provider.

We recognise that global energy markets are extremely volatile at this time, but our approach is to procure commodities and run assets in a manner that maintains fair value for customers and protects them from short term wholesale price shocks.

Connect to our Heat Network

If you are interested in connecting to the Bristol Heat Network, please get in touch with our sales and operations team via our Contact page.