Around one million homes and businesses could have access to renewable heat through waterways, according to the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
DECC has released an online map which shows potential heat sources in over 4,000 rivers, estuaries, canals and coastal sites that can generate over 6GW of low-carbon heat.
By using a water source heat pump, the DECC believes that a household can decrease its carbon footprint by up to 50%.
Energy and Climate Change secretary Ed Davey said at the launch of the map: “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.”
One site exploring the potential use of water source heat pumps is the redevelpment of the former power station in Battersea.
Phillip Gullett, chief operating officer at Battersea Power Station stated: “We are looking at a range of options to deliver the energy required for the homes, shops, restaurants and leisure facilities being created here…Being located on the banks of the River Thames in central London we are ideally placed to investigate what role water source technology may play in supplying our energy needs…”
Energy company SSE has been asked to perform a feasibility study for the heat pumps, and will explore the possibility of re-using existing infrastructure that was built 80 years ago to help connect the Power Station to the Thames.