In a speech at the Royal Society, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, told industry leaders that generating heat causes around a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions and that the issue needed more attention. 

A DECC spokesperson told edie that the upcoming delayed energy bill would be announced in the next two weeks but would not name a date and Ed Davey said although the bill would focus on electricity, heat would also feature prominently.

“I don’t apologise for focusing on electricity in the Energy Bill.

“In the hackneyed phrase, it keeps the lights on. And the challenges we face in electricity generation are crucial ones.

“But I am not for a moment losing sight of the fact that almost half of the final energy consumed in the UK is used to provide heat,” he said.

Remarking on the Government’s Heat Strategy published in March, Davey said: “It considers how we will manage demand, change the way we heat buildings, set up heat networks, and realise the potential for efficient, low-carbon industrial heat. We will follow up this framework up with practical proposals to make it a reality – with a document we will publish early next year.”

Davey also talked about the Energy Efficiency Strategy, launched on Monday.

He said: “By 2020 the UK could be saving 196 Terawatt-Hours of energy, mostly from more efficient heating and transport.

“Consumers have a pivotal role to play. Relatively minor changes in the management and use of heat can significantly reduce bills. When multiplied across communities, cities and regions, the impact on our energy systems can be huge.”

Davey stressed that increasing renewable heating for buildings was a crucial step.

“Levels of renewable heating at present are incredibly low. We need to prime the renewable heat market, so that the supply chain builds up.

“That’s why we have introduced the world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for non-domestic heat, and the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme. We are currently consulting on RHI for homes,” he said.

Davey noted that the Greater London Authority was supporting 25 heat network projects which have the capacity to leverage over £230m of investment.

In addition he announced that DECC would invest around £1m to at least four cities – Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield – to undertake feasibility studies on new district heating projects.

Conor McGlone

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