Cost of living crisis: Almost 800k London homes could be heated by untapped energy source, report claims

NEA estimates that the energy crisis has pushed more than 6.7 million UK households into fuel poverty (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
NEA estimates that the energy crisis has pushed more than 6.7 million UK households into fuel poverty (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

Almost 800,000 homes could be warmed by converting the vast amounts of excess heat which is produced across London, a new report has claimed.

As many struggle to pay their heating and with the energy bills set to rise again in April, a report from Danish energy solution company, Danfoss, has found London produces more excess heat than Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Warsaw and Frankfurt.

In the new report, they found that excess heat from supermarkets, factories and Tube stations adds up to 9.5TWh per year, roughly the amount needed to heat 790,000 households across the capital. The top three sites in Greater London alone could provide 4.8TWh of heat yearly.

Daniel Scott, vice president of Danfoss Northern Europe sales division, told the Standard: “When you consider that the excess heat from those sources adds up to a massive 9.5TWh per year, roughly the amount of heat required to heat 790,000 households, it begs the question: why aren’t businesses and government organisations using these heat sources?

“Why aren’t we capturing and sharing this heat with homes and businesses that are already struggling with the cost of living crisis?

“It just goes to show that excess heat is undoubtedly the world’s largest untapped source of energy. Reusing excess heat offers incredible opportunities for businesses throughout London and the wider UK to reduce emissions and save money.

“Using gas or electricity for heating is like using a chainsaw to cut butter, as heating can easily be covered by low-value heating sources such as excess heat. Despite this, very few initiatives to reuse heat at scale exist in London or anywhere else in the country.

“This has to change, and we already have the solutions available to make this happen quickly. If we start reusing our heat now, we’ll start enjoying the benefits next winter, and for many winters to come. It’s a win-win whichever way you look at it.”

In one example to cut energy costs, a Danish supermarket has installed a heat recovery unit which recovers waste heat from CO2 refrigeration systems.

This is one of the more common ways to repurpose excess heat and could be employed by companies across London, while smarter town planning in order to harness the benefits of energy demands and production could also be used to drastically reduce energy costs.

By installing the recovery unit, the supermarket now covers 78 per cent of its energy bill by re-using heat from its cooling displays and sells green excess heat to nearby homes and companies through a district energy system.

The new report comes ahead of the rise to typical household bills in April. Ofgem will announce the new cap on February 27, but according to analysts Cornwall Insights, the price cap is expected to increase to £3,294.

Although a fall from the £4,279 cap in the previous quarter, the typical household will still pay an additional £500 a year.

The Energy Price Guarantee scheme to lessen the blow of surging energy costs introduced by the Government will also rise, but by only £500 to £3,000 a year for a typical household.

The energy price guarantee limits the price per unit of energy a household has to pay to an annual equivalent and will run until April 2024.