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Carbon Connect urges Government to implement an ambitious, long-term decarbonisation strategy for the heat sector, before it’s too late in new inquiry report

Carbon Connect urges Government to implement an ambitious, long-term decarbonisation strategy for the heat sector, before it’s too late in new inquiry report

14th October 2015

After months of research, Carbon Connect is preparing to launch the latest in the Future Heat Series of inquiries Policy for Heat: Transforming the System on 14th October in Parliament.

Carbon Connect highlights that the Government needs to urgently produce and implement a long term strategy for decarbonising heat for buildings in the UK.

Put simply: heat for buildings needs to be decarbonised if the UK is to meet its 2050 carbon budgets and end fuel poverty. There are currently (according to new official Government figures and definitions of fuel poverty) 2.35 million households in fuel poverty in England alone. This is 10% of all households in England. 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.

Carbon Connect is leading the low carbon sector in policy research and recommendations. This inquiry comes off the back of a sister report Pathways for heat: low carbon heat for buildings from the Future Heat series. This report called for the next Government to set heat as a priority for the coming decade and specifically focused on heating buildings sustainably.

Similarly, Transforming the system calls on the Government to make solid plans beyond its five year term in office that ensure that the UK meets its 2050 carbon budgets and has a sustainable heating infrastructure in place. In 2014, only 4.9% of heat demand was met by renewables. The Government has an ‘ambition’ (not an official target) to meet 12% of heat demand from renewable sources by 2020 – at the moment this is looking unlikely. By including robust, ambitious policy frameworks to ensure that a market transformation in carbon heating is achieved, the government can more than meet these objectives for 2050.

This report has brought together a wide cross-section of industry and business members, academics and experts in the field in order to lay out a set of policies that could help the UK’s government decarbonise the heat system in the UK in a cost-effective way.

Carbon Connect Manager, Owain Mortimer, explained why Carbon Connect chose to investigate heating infrastructure in this inquiry:

“46 per cent of the final energy consumed in the UK is used to provide heat, of which 80% is heat for buildings. Having worked on Pathways for Heat it became apparent that for buildings to achieve low carbon status, the heat being provided needed to come from renewable or low carbon sources. 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.  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.”

Policy for Heat: Transforming the System is being launched to Parliament on Wednesday 14th October. To find out more and for attendance details, email carbonconnect@policyconnect.org.uk.

You can download the report for free at www.policyconnect.org.uk/cc.