Government has today revealed plans for how to cut emissions from heating homes, businesses and industry in the UK. This news comes just days after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed an extension of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme and a delayed rollout to the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The Heat Strategy outlines the long-term challenges and opportunities on the bumpy road to decarbonisation. DECC is currently faced with the fact that approximately half of all energy consumed in the UK is used to generate heat for buildings and water, and the vast majority of this heat is produced by burning fossil fuels.

In fact, around a third of the UK’s current carbon emissions come from the energy used to produce heat, which is a problem considering Government’s 2020 carbon reduction commitment.

Commenting on the news, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey said: “Cutting emissions from the way we generate heat is essential if we are to meet our climate change and renewables targets.

“Many towns, cities and communities across the UK are already switching from fossil fuels to low carbon forms of heating like biomass, heat pumps and solar thermal.

“I want to give the opportunity to others to follow the pioneers so that, in time, our buildings are no longer dependent on burning fossil fuels for heat but using affordable and reliable alternatives to help create a flourishing, competitive low carbon manufacturing industry.

“I welcome views on this plan to ensure government and industry can work together towards a sustainable, affordable and low carbon energy future.”

Government’s Heat Strategy builds on the Carbon Plan, published last December, which looks at heat use across the different sectors in the economy. The Plan also provides supporting evidence, real-life case studies and asks specific questions on future policy options.

The new strategy is split into three stages:

  1. This decade: Government’s focus for both buildings and industry will be on energy efficiency and preparing the market by driving early take up of renewable heat, building the supply chain and supporting innovation
  2. 2020s and 2030s: uptake of low carbon heat technologies will need to be widespread in homes and businesses. Government’s focus will be on creating the right frameworks to support the market and minimise costs to consumers and industry
  3. In the long term: Government will increasingly focus on helping consumers and businesses tackle more challenging areas of low carbon heat where more innovation may be needed.

Government also outlines that by 2050, heat for buildings will need to be entirely carbon-free, which means adopting a range of renewable options such as solar thermal technology in buildings as well as a bigger role for low carbon heat networks in cities.