Plan for South Yorkshire rivers to be used to generate heat

The River Rother
The River Rother

Thousands of homes and businesses in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire could be heated using energy generated from local rivers, a new Government report has claimed.

The Don, Dearne and Rother rivers have been named among 40 urban rivers and estuaries with ‘untapped potential’ that would be suitable for large-scale renewable energy schemes in areas where there is a high demand for heat.

A heat map produced by the Government to go with the report has included all three rivers, and states properties in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Chesterfield could all potentially be supplied with energy from such schemes.

It is intended that water source heat pumps would be installed at suitable points along urban rivers.

The Government map has been published to help local councils, private developers and community groups identify potential locations for the heat pumps.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said: “It sounds like magic but, using proven technology, we can now extract some of the heat in our rivers and estuaries and use that energy to heat our homes and offices.

“I want to help communities across England to use our waterways for this renewable heat, and this new map is designed to help communities, councils and developers identify the most promising opportunities.

“If we can succeed on the large scale, it would cut Britain’s import bill and boost our home-grown supplies of clean, secure energy.”

The map identifies rivers and estuaries that could accommodate heat pumps with the capacity to each generate more than one megawatt of power – which is enough to provide heating and hot water to around 400 to 500 homes.

Heat networks work by supplying heating to buildings and homes through a system of insulated pipes. Local heat networks currently only provide two per cent of the overall heating demand in the UK, with the Government keen to see ‘significant growth’ in the industry.