13 August 2020


  • Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund provides £7m to London Borough of Southwark for an innovative low carbon heating project
  • Water Source Heat Pumps will be installed to supply low carbon and affordable heat to over 2,000 homes in the borough
  • Project will provide new ‘green’ job opportunities, including roles for local apprentices, supporting London’s green recovery from COVID-19

The Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund (‘MEEF’), managed by Amber Fund Management Limited (‘Amber’), has provided £7 million to the London Borough of Southwark (‘Southwark’) to support a highly innovative project to provide low carbon heat to over two thousand homes in the borough. The MEEF finance provides for the installation of Water Source Heat Pumps (‘WSHP’), a renewable and energy efficient technology, to replace existing gas boilers in three housing estates within the borough.

The project will extract heat from water that occurs naturally below ground using ‘open loop’ supplied Water Source Heat Pumps to increase the temperature and this heat is then fed into a heat network which supplies the heat direct to homes.   

When completed, the WSHP technology will become the primary heat source for the heat networks on the Consort, Newington and Wyndham housing estates supplying low carbon heat to 2,175 homes with no additional costs passed on to the residents. The project will save 1,774 tonnes of CO2e /annum, the equivalent of taking over 1,600 cars off the road, and it is expected to reduce energy usage by over 34% compared to the existing heating systems while also creating 3.4MW of renewable energy. The heat pumps will also make a positive contribution to local air quality by replacing the existing gas boilers, which emit harmful NOx and particulate matter.

Southwark has procured Vital Energi a district energy specialist, to design, construct and operate the scheme. The project will support up to 45 new jobs with Vital Energi ensuring a number of these roles will be filled by apprentices from within the Borough.

The scheme supports Southwark and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in their efforts to tackle the climate emergency. Low carbon district energy projects like this will have an important role to play in the Mayor’s ambitions to make London a zero-carbon city and support the capital’s green recovery.

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues said:Energy used to heat and power homes is responsible for around one third of the capital’s greenhouse gases, so low carbon heating solutions like this project have a crucial role in tackling the climate emergency and making London a zero carbon city by 2030. This is a fantastic example of how we can combine low carbon heat sources and heat networks to supply homes with green and affordable heat. The project also supports the Mayor’s ambition for a green and prosperous recovery, creating the jobs and skills of the future for Londoners and supporting the industries that are crucial to meeting our city’s climate targets.”

Cllr Kieron Williams, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Modernisation, said: “We’re delighted to be introducing this innovative new technology to help improve local air quality and provide reliable, cost effective heating for the people living on our estates.

Working with Vital Energi and with finance from the Mayor’s Fund, this decarbonised heating system takes us another step towards carbon neutrality and promises benefits for many local families.”

Pete Radford, Investment Director, Amber Infrastructure, said: “This is MEEF’s first investment in Water Source Heat pumps. With the recent extension of the RHI we hope to support further innovative heat pump projects which contribute towards the much required decarbonisation of heat.” 

Rob Callaghan, Vital Energi, said: “We are proud to be part of such an important project in helping Southwark, London and the UK Government towards our collective goal of a greener, low carbon future. With district heating being technology agnostic, we are able to upgrade the central energy production technology to low carbon sources, in this case Water Source Heat Pumps and with that, using the heat network we can decarbonise 2,175 connected homes.”

Please contact MEEF (meefinfo@amberinfrastructure.com) to discuss a potential application further.

Further information on MEEF can be found at: www.meef.co.uk  

Further information on Amber Infrastructure can be found at: www.amberinfrastructure.com


MEEF was advised by Osbourne Clarke (legal and state aid) and Verco Advisory Services (technical). NatWest, one of MEEF’s funders for this investment, was advised by Trowers & Hamlins (legal).

MEEF was established by the GLA in 2018 and is managed by Amber Infrastructure. MEEF provides  senior debt, mezzanine debt or equity to London’s public-sector property owners and small-to-medium-sized businesses, including but not exclusively, Local Authorities, NHS Trusts, Registered Providers, Higher and Further Education organisations, Charities and Voluntary Organisations, ESCOs and SMEs. MEEF is funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund.


Amber Infrastructure (‘Amber’) is a specialist international investment manager, focused on investment origination, asset management and fund management.  With over €4.5 billion in funds under management, Amber invests across six funds and a number of managed accounts. Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising, investing in and managing infrastructure assets across the public, transport, energy, digital and demographic infrastructure sectors that support the lives of people, homes and businesses internationally.

Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Europe, North America and Australia and employs approximately 135 infrastructure professionals.


MEEF is receiving up to £43 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.



Southwark Council is the biggest local authority social landlord in London, and the fourth biggest nationally. It has invested over £500m of improvements in council homes since 2014.

Southwark Council has a vision to create a fairer future for all in Southwark, including the best start in life, quality homes, and great places to live, where people can lead healthy lives and improve their economic prospects.

Because of the long term threats associated with climate change, Southwark Council has declared a climate emergency and committed to combatting carbon emissions and rising global temperatures, with a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.


Vital Energi (‘Vital’) provide energy generation, energy distribution and energy supply and consumption management to help both the public and private sector decarbonise their estates and developments.

Vital provide multi-technology solutions for your campus, city and new and existing developments that achieve your carbon reduction and energy cost targets for both now and in the future. Combining both renewable / low carbon generation solutions with optimised consumption measures allows new and existing homes and buildings to contribute towards carbon reduction targets. 

With over 30 years’ experience in the Heat Network market, Vital uniquely have access to 100 million metered data points coupled with the continued investment in products and services which allows Vital to develop and deliver secure and feasible energy solutions.


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