Government ‘very far’ from low-carbon heating goals

The UK Government has a long way to go to achieve its aim of 25% of heating demand being met by low-carbon sources by 2030, according to the WWF's latest energy report - Warm homes, not warm words.

The WWF study states that failure to address the contribution of heating to carbon emissions will seriously undermine the country’s efforts to meet its climate change targets. Heating currently accounts for 32% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and 44% of its energy use.

In order for the Government to reach its goal:

– Four million heat pumps need to be installed in homes across the country. 
– One million homes need to be connected to heat networks, up from the current 25,000 that have been installed over the last 13 years. 
– More than 300,000 homes will need to have biomass boilers. 

Strong policies

WWF-UK’s climate and energy specialist Zoe Leader said: “The Government’s support for renewable heat is making slow but steady progress, but at the current rate will fail to meet our climate change goals. In the next 15 years, the UK needs to insulate eight million lofts, install nearly four million heat pumps and quadruple the number of homes connected to heat networks.

“WWF’s report shows that there is real opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint from heating. It is clear that strong Government policies can address the barriers to large scale deployment, help reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels while supporting enterprise and innovation in a new industry.”

The Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) has welcomed the report. CHPA director Tim Rotheray said: “Heat networks can be one of the most cost effective ways to decarbonise heat while consumers also benefit from lower energy bills.

“CHPA analysis shows that by delivering renewable heat through networks, we can save taxpayers up to £1.6m for every 1,000 homes connected compared with alternative solutions.

“The next challenge for Government is to put in place a framework that will deliver the infrastructure investment necessary to unlock the considerable benefit that heat networks can provide for energy users.”

A report by the Committee on Climate Change in July suggested that the Government’s energy efficiency schemes had failed to put the UK on the right track to meet its commitments on cutting greenhouse gases.

Infographic: Decarbonising heat

Read the full WWF report here.

Lois Vallely

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