28423409_sUK: At least a million homes and businesses across England could be benefitting from the potential of water-source heat pumps, according to the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

An interactive online map developed by DECC has revealed that the energy in over 4,000 waterways across the country could provide over 6GW of low-carbon heat by installing a water source heat pump.

The map identifies a potential 4,041 waterways made up of 3,769 rivers, 135 estuaries, 84 coastal sites and 53 canals around England.

“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,” energy secretary Ed Davey at the launch of the new map at Battersea Power Station today.

“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.”

The Malaysian consortium behind turning the 170,000m² battersea Power Station site into a huge complex of apartments, shops and offices in an £8bn project is the latest developer to announce that it will be looking into installing a water source heat pump. Energy company SSE has been appointed to carry out a full heat pump feasibility study. It will also investigate the re-use of existing engineering infrastructure that was built 80 years ago to connect the Power Station to the Thames when it was generating power. If a heat pump is installed at the site, it would be one of the energy sources used to provide heat to around 4000 new homes, shops, offices and public amenities being provided at the power station.

“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,” revealed Battersea Power Station’s chief operating officer Phillip Gullett.

The announcement has been welcomed by the Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England & Wales. The charity’s chief executive Richard Parry revealed “We have a number of innovative projects already underway, or in development, on our canals and rivers. These are delivering benefits for waterside businesses and the environment and proving again that, 200 years after they were built, the waterways are still bringing a whole range of benefits to the nation.”

The Water Source Heat Map is a new tool featuring on the National Heat Map. It is a publicly accessible, interactive web-based map showing the level of heat demand across England. It includes residential, commercial, industrial, public buildings and total heat demand. It aims to support planning and deployment of local low-carbon energy projects in England.

The new interactive map provides developers and homeowners with information to help them get their water source heat pump projects up-and-running. It includes details of water conditions, such as temperature and flow rates, as well as the potential heat capacity of each waterway and the levels of heat demand across England – eliminating the cost and time it would take developers to conduct their own exploratory studies.

Alongside the map, the government has today published a flow chart to help people navigate the process of setting up a water source heat pump. The government is also working with the Environment Agency to make it easier and quicker than ever to apply for environmental permits. An industry-led Code of Practice to drive up technical standards in the heat pump industry is in development. The code is being funded by the government and will be launched later this year.