Swaffham Prior Renewable Heat Network has won the prestigious Edie Net Zero Award for Renewable Energy Project of the Year.  

The Edie Awards – formerly known as the Sustainability Leaders Awards – are the world’s largest sustainable business awards and recognise green projects which are transforming the energy landscape for good. 

This project will enable villagers to ditch their oil tanks and storage heaters and switch to a clean renewable heat network using ground and air source heat pumps installed at the newly created energy centre. 

When powered by Cambridgeshire County Council’s (CCC) new solar farm from next year, the heat network will cut carbon emissions from heating and hot water for connected homes by almost 99 per cent. 

The aim of this project was to demonstrate a new business model to support communities to switch to more environmentally friendly heating and remove the cost barriers surrounding access to sustainable energy technology across the community.

It is also intended to help prevent future fuel poverty. 

60 homes are already connected to the renewable heat network with more planned.  

The first homes were connected at the end of last year with residents reporting great satisfaction with the heat they received last winter. 

Chair of CCC’s environment and green investment committee, Cllr Lorna Dupre said: “The challenges of climate change also present opportunities for innovative solutions.

"A retrofitted heat network has never been achieved before in the UK. It’s fantastic that our work has been recognised at the Edie Awards for leading the way in decarbonising energy at scale. 

“We’re not just taking a community off oil; we’re also developing a blueprint to meet the energy needs of rural communities as we look towards a low carbon future.

"This sort of solution is critical not just for Cambridgeshire’s villages, but for all places off the gas grid across the country to ensure a just transition to Net Zero for everyone.”