Think tank calls for new decarbonising heat strategy

Policy Connect has called on Ministers to urgently produce a long-term strategy for decarbonising heat for buildings in the UK.

In a new report, which was published on 14 October, the think tank calls on the Government to make plans beyond this current Parliament to ensure that the UK meets its 2050 carbon budgets and has a sustainable heating infrastructure in place. 

The Government currently has an ‘ambition’ to meet 12% of heat demand from renewable sources by 2020, but as the report points out, last year only 4.9% of heat demand was met by renewables.  

The report adds there are currently 2.35 million households in fuel poverty in England, which is 10% of all households in the country. 

Increased integration between renewable heat and energy efficiency policies could put the Government in a better position to effectively target fuel poverty, whilst also setting the country on a path to decarbonisation in the most cost-effective way possible.

“There are real business opportunities for renewable and low carbon heating technologies to grow, but the Government needs to provide the long-term, policy certainty necessary for the industry to flourish,” said Carbon Connect Manager, Owain Mortimer.  

“For instance, District Heat Networks currently only have a 2% market penetration. What we found, after both qualitative and quantitative research activities outlined in the report, is that long-term plans need to be put in place to tackle heat.”

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) welcomed the report and echoed its comments.

“Heat is central to our meeting our low carbon energy targets. I think that there is strong potential for geothermal heating in the UK, as well as for biomethane and other technologies. The RHI can easily be improved and extended to achieve this,” said REA Policy Analyst, Frank Aaskov.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues