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UKPN to develop electrified heating roadmap in Sussex trial

The Sewells Farm in Barcombe, which provides renewable energy to a local business park. Image: UKPN.

The Sewells Farm in Barcombe, which provides renewable energy to a local business park. Image: UKPN.

UK Power Networks (UKPN) is to develop a roadmap for electrified heating through a trial in Sussex village Barcombe.

Over 600 households are involved in the two year CommuniHeat project, which is aiming to understand how the village and similar communities can switch to low carbon heating using electricity.

Engineers will work with community groups and local partners to research, gather data and compare approaches. As part of the project, consultancy Buro Happold is creating new computer models to forecast the impacts of electrified heat, and in doing so the project partners hope to create a sustainable and replicable model for switching to the technology.

Energy meters will also be installed in the village, with data gathered to offer new insights into how residents currently use energy. With this information, UKPN can run advanced simulations for different approaches to installing low carbon electrical heating.

These simulations will investigate the efficiency and electricity network impact of multiple approaches, including medium sized heat pumps serving a few properties, district heating or personal electrical heat pumps installed at each property.

The project will then look at potential community finance models for making the switch and analyse how other smart technology such as electric vehicles and solar power could play a role.

Digital community events and engagement to understand residents' needs and opinions as part of the project will be run by local community group Ovesco.

Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation, said the CommuniHeat project is about “facilitating the reduction of carbon emissions through collaboration.

"We know where emissions come from, and we know the end goal. We’re delighted to be working with this forward-thinking community to actively make net zero heating a reality for all.”

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