Speaking at the launch of the Clean Growth Strategy at Plexal, an innovation centre located on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park heating and cooling network, Energy Minister Claire Perry MP said deploying low carbon heat networks more widely would be a key tool in helping to drive down the cost of keeping homes warm.
The Clean Growth Strategy sets out 50 policies and proposals to achieve progress on decarbonising several sectors including power, transport, industry and buildings through the 2020s and early 2030s in a bid to meet its legally binding carbon emissions reduction commitments, including delivering the smart energy plan and improving the efficiency of businesses and industry, which include technologies like combined heat and power and demand response.
Recognising that heat in buildings and industry creates around 32% of total UK emissions, and is the most difficult of sectors to decarbonise in terms of policy and technology challenge, the Plan sets out actions for rolling out low carbon heating. The actions include ongoing support for heat networks and two new £10 million innovation programmes to develop new energy efficiency and heating technologies to enable lower cost, low carbon homes.
The Strategy also lends support to the ADE’s Heat Network Task Force, stating that following its recommendations it will “examine the measures necessary to create an effective long-term market framework for the sector beyond 2020.”
ADE Director Dr Tim Rotheray said:
“We welcome Government’s recognition and commitment to decarbonising heat as a method to meet our carbon reduction goals, and we are delighted to see ongoing support for the use of heat networks as a means to decarbonise heat dense areas, and backing for the role of the ADE Heat Network Task Force to deliver heat network infrastructure investment through the 2020s.
“The Heat Networks Investment Project is a hugely important part of creating a self-sustaining heat network market post-2020 and it is clear that all customers from householders to large industrial sites can benefit from good value, low carbon district heating.
“The UK is poised to create a low-carbon, competitive economy, and combined heat and power, demand response and energy efficiency all have important roles to play; With commitments to deliver the smart energy plan and new industrial energy efficiency investments power, alongside a potential for £6 billion in energy savings, businesses and investors will have increased confidence to invest in new measures to help improve their competitiveness and meet our carbon goals.”
The Strategy sets out a goal to improve energy efficiency in businesses and industry by at least 20% by 2030.
Under current policies the UK is set to miss its targets for the fourth and fifth carbon budgets. The ADE’s Energy Productivity Report, published last year, highlighted how current renewable and energy efficiency policies are only able to take the UK around half way towards the cost effective path to decarbonisation, and far behind many of its European peers, leaving a significant policy gap.
Analysis published in the Government’s Strategy highlights that up to £6 billion could be saved in 2030 through investment in cost-effective energy efficiency technologies in the industrial and commercial sectors. It goes on to state that “roughly half of these savings are available through improving the efficiency of buildings and processes, including by fitting better insulation and smarter energy controls. The other half can be realised through eliminating electricity waste.”