When Triple Point Investment Management won the contract to be the delivery partner for the UK government’s investment in heating networks, project director Ken Hunnisett realised much of the hard work had already been done.
“One assertion we made in our bid was that in order for the project to be successful, we would need to engage and excite investors about the opportunity,” he says. “Clearly that was wrong – there’s already substantial engagement from a highly expectant investor community.”
The Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) pilot scheme that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been running since October 2016 has already involved talks with third-party investors.
Heat networks – also known as district heating – are multi-user systems that distribute heat via insulated pipes from a central source to homes, offices or other buildings. That source of heat could be a combined heat and power plant, or heat recovered from industry and urban infrastructure, canals and rivers, or energy from waste plants.
Heat networks are uncommon in the UK, however the government is promoting them as a key part of its plan to reduce carbon emissions.
In October, Triple Point was appointed delivery partner for BEIS’s £320m (€366m) HNIP to create the networks, as well as to increase volume and improve the quality of existing systems, and draw in £1bn of extra investment.
“This is not a nascent market,” says Hunnisett. “We’re on the cusp of something really exciting and keen to build on the good work started by BEIS”.
Triple Point is talking to potential investors, from specialist infrastructure funds to the leasing and lending departments of high-street banks, he says.
Heating network projects that could come to Triple Point in the early part of the mandate are likely to be local-authority-sponsored deals, he says.