Regen has cited heat energy as the “greatest decarbonisation challenge” facing the UK as it looks to meet its net zero carbon commitment.
On 10 March, it published, The decarbonisation of heat where it called on national government and regional bodies to increase efforts to tackle carbon emissions from buildings and to create a consumer led transformation of heat provision.
It set out actions that have to be taken now to put the UK on track to achieve net zero ahead of the government’s 2050 target, including transforming domestic environmental levies, which account for around 21% of electricity bills, into a new fuel carbon levy, along with increasing the market demand for efficient, low carbon, buildings through the housing market and rental sectors. Other recommendations included creating a consumer-led market for low carbon heat technologies and services and adopting zero carbon building standards and embarking on a deeper and wider programme of efficiency and building fabric improvement. It also called for action on building consumer trust and stimulating market demand. This could be done through supporting the deployment of technologies and services that offer better, low carbon heating solutions.
When assessing potential heat decarbonisation pathways – including the widespread electrification of heat supply and use of clean hydrogen as an alternative low carbon heating fuel – Regen said the right solution will likely be a combination of solutions. This is dependent on local and regional factors, all of which will have to be underpinned by much higher levels of energy efficiency.
Regen Director, and report co-author, Johnny Gowdy said: “Achieving net zero will require a radical redesign of heat delivery systems. In the next five years we will need to make some critical strategic decisions that will have far-reaching impacts for consumers, businesses and for the wider society. We must not be afraid to make long term investments, but it is vital that these decisions are clearly evidence based and taken in partnership with regional stakeholders and local communities.”