We did not see the Heat and Buildings Strategy before the local elections pushed us into purdah. However, with core announcements already being trailed, plus the recent axing of the domestic Green Homes Grant, there is plenty of discussion over the ongoing challenges of decarbonising heat in buildings. Significant change is necessary, with government looking to ramp up installations of heat pumps to 600,000 per annum by 2028 and develop a hydrogen town in the early 2020s. What is it then that this strategy is expected to deliver, and how should this change the discourse surrounding the decarbonisation of heat? Given the significant cost of decarbonisation of heat (~£100bn regardless of technology mix) and the sheer scale of energy demand created by heat and cooling both now and in the future, there is no space for ‘either/or’ approaches – but there is also no time to wait and see. Core research for the Committee on Climate Change and, separately, the Energy Networks Association indicates that regardless of the mix of solutions used in 2050, existing technologies today, including heat pumps, hot water storage, energy efficiency measures, bio-methane and district heating must be deployed at scale in the 2020s. This research also points to the need to advance carbon capture and all forms of hydrogen production technologies to enable the UK to introduce these across a range of economic sectors throughout the 2030s.
Utility Week 7th April 2021 read more »