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Swaffham Prior Renewable Heat Network nominated for prestigious clean energy award

18 March 2024

Swaffham Prior Renewable Heat Network, the UK’s first retrofitted heat network, has been named as a finalist for an international award recognising groundbreaking climate solutions.

Hundreds applied for the 2024 Ashden Awards with the seven category winners set to receive grants, global publicity and connection to funders, investors and partners.

The three UK-focused categories highlight work creating natural defences to extreme weather, and clean energy innovation.

The Cambridgeshire scheme, set up in a partnership between the county council and Swaffham Prior residents, has been shortlisted in the People’s Energy (UK) category.

Other contenders for the award include the Tea and PV project, which offers Methodist churches in Yorkshire guidance and support to install rooftop solar panels, and South East London Community Energy (SELCE), which installs clean energy technology into community buildings to lower their bills and emissions.

Swaffham Prior Renewable Heat Network has enabled local residents to ditch their oil tanks and storage heaters and switch to a clean renewable heat network. The network uses ground and air source heat pumps installed at an energy centre built on the outskirts of the village to deliver heat to homes.

The first houses were connected at the end of 2022 and there are now 64 households benefiting from the cleaner energy the scheme provides.

In November the project won the prestigious Edie Net Zero Award for Renewable Energy Project of the Year.

Finalists for the 2024 Ashden Awards were selected by panels of expert judges including academics, investors, civil society leaders and journalists.

These panels will also decide the final winners, who will be announced at a ceremony on 27 June at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, part of London Climate Action Week.

Cllr Lorna Dupré, Chair of the Environment and Green Investment Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We are immensely proud of our pioneering Swaffham Prior Renewable Heat Network and are thrilled that this ambitious project is getting the recognition it deserves.

“It is an honour to see the project has been nominated for another prestigious award celebrating clean energy solutions.

“We have some tough competition from other inspiring projects across the country, but we are pleased our groundbreaking renewable heat network has been chosen as a contender.”