The voice of the energy industry

Energy UK looks to put the heat on

Energy UK is calling for the Government to help kick-start a transformation of the way the UK heats its homes and businesses.     

Heating buildings now accounts for around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions - the same as that produced by the power sector. However, while the power sector continues to reduce its emissions year on year, those from heating are rising.   

The Committee on Climate Change has stated* that meeting the 2050 emissions reduction target may be impossible without a near complete elimination of emissions produced by heating people’s homes and businesses. In its 2017 Clean Growth Strategy, the Government said doing so is its most difficult policy challenge among its decarbonisation efforts. 

Energy UK's Kick-starting the decarbonisation of heat report - which is launched at a breakfast briefing today featuring speakers from the Committee on Climate ChangeCitizen’s Advice, Centrica and Delta Energy & Environment - sets out a number of recommendations for the Government which would enable the industry to press ahead with transforming heating in the UK.    

The paper also explores some of the barriers to consumer uptake of low carbon heating solutions and offers recommendations for how these could be resolved. It also includes a number of case studies of Energy UK members deploying existing methods and technologies to reduce carbon emissions from heating and successfully delivering these for customers.         

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said:

“Moving away from carbon intensive heating is a huge challenge but one we cannot delay tackling any longer - we need heating to follow the lead of power generation in slashing emissions.  However, at present it is in danger of being left behind both in terms of resources and focus.

“Industry is already taking leadership in helping to deliver this change, as is highlighted throughout the report, but Government has a vital role to play in kick-starting this transformation, which is why we’re setting out areas where it should get the ball rolling. 

“If, as the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy sets out, the 2020s will see real change taking place in heating, then we need to prepare the ground now.”

Paul Clark, Chair of the Energy UK Decarbonisation of Heat Working Group and Head of Policy at Centrica, said:

“Too often customers have been overlooked in the debate about heat decarbonisation.  This report reflects the need to better understand the customer case for new technologies, as well as an appreciation that a “one size fits all” approach simply won’t work in a country with such a diverse range of housing types and environments”

In the report Energy UK calls for the Government to:

  • Review the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and other programmes for supporting low carbon heating alternatives by the end of 2018 to include a greater range of technologies; give greater scope for private investment; and target property developers, housing associations and others who could encourage wide scale adoption across properties. The findings of the National Audit Office review of the cost-effectiveness of the RHI scheme should be reflected in this review.
  • Reintroduce zero carbon housing policies as part of national energy efficiency campaign which could be combined with changes to building standards to require low carbon heating.   
  • Initiate large scale trials to test the integration of a range of technologies, build up supply chains and gather evidence ahead of a future heat strategy.
  • Set out a plan to deploy low carbon heat solutions in properties most suitable for adaptation, such as those off the gas grid (comprising 15-20% of UK households).


Notes to Editors

Energy UK is the trade association for the GB energy industry with a membership of over 100 suppliers, generators, and stakeholders with a business interest in the production and supply of electricity and gas for domestic and business consumers. Our membership covers over 90% of both UK power generation and the energy supply market for UK homes. We represent the diverse nature of the UK’s energy industry – from established FTSE 100 companies right through to new, growing suppliers and generators, which now make up over half of our membership.

Energy UK’s members already offer a range of low carbon heat solutions, and our Decarbonisation of Heat Working Group is working to set out recommendations to government for tactical and strategic decisions in this area.

*Next steps for UK Heat Policy – Committee on Climate Change, October 2016.


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