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HPM August 2013

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com INDUSTRYWATCH Is the future of heating in electricity? Roger Webb, Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) director, talks to HPM about how detached the government’s model of future heating for the UK really is and how the company has come up with its own scenario towards a decarbonised society... Heat is the single biggest reason we use energy in our society. According to the government’s 2012 report: ‘The Future of Heating - A Strategic framework for low carbon heat in the UK’, we use more energy for heating than for transport or the generation of electricity. In the UK, we will spend around £33 billion on heat across our economy. Professor David Mackay, chief scientific advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) devised a model for 2050. It presents a zero carbon electric pathway to a low carbon future. Mackay believes that within 40 years transport, heating and industry need to be electrified, electricity supply may need to double, and the grid must be decarbonised and able to cope with intermittent renewable generation. This distant ‘all or nothing’ solution appears detached from the current reality, fails to offer a staged approach in failing to recognise the continuing role of non-electric sources of supply, and takes no account of the forces which drive human behaviour. SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? By 2027 the government’s target for domestic heating is 50.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We are currently on 80 million tonnes of CO2. One of the problems is that the UK has one of the oldest stocks of residential buildings in Europe - which are not energy efficient and all add to higher carbon emissions. With these differing property types, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work when it comes to installing suitable technologies. Today, 1.5 million boilers are sold every year. To meet the government’s 2027 target, only 500,000 boilers should be sold, with a mix of other technologies. This is a huge change. OUR SCENARIO HHIC has come up with its own scenario on behalf of the industry to take the UK towards a decarbonised society. We commissioned research and analysis for Pathways for Domestic Heating from Delta Energy and Environment. This research supports our view that we need to keep a number of options open for as long as possible. Despite Professor Mackay’s modelling, DECC itself has released an updated view for domestic heat to 2050, concluding that gas will be an important part of the energy mix to 2030 and beyond. Our scenario includes heating products that will lower the carbon emissions through their energy efficiency. As part of our research, we looked at different property types and with the help of our industry came up with products that would be suitable. It is vital that we have a mix of energy products and we believe that the government needs to acknowledge this openly. The industry could produce these modern products by 2027 at volumes which would support progress to the 2050 target. This is why we have opted for a balanced mix of technologies that can be taken to 2030. Timing is critical to ensure that the UK is on the correct trajectory for meeting the binding 2050 targets. The government must be serious about meeting these targets as to deliver our scenario will require huge investment from industry to develop new and innovative products. But the pace that the government is prescribing means that industry has to do this much faster too. Being part of this change will also require consumers to come on board and play their part. But human behaviour is hard to influence and it may mean that to create demand once incentives have been offered, regulation is the next best step. There will be greater opportunity for consumers to choose specialist technologies that will be suitable for their properties. But we cannot kick-start any of this into action if the government only presents a long-term ambition without any realistic intermediate targets. It needs to instil confidence to our industry. For our manufacturers to bring new low carbon technologies to the marketplace they need to be certain that the government is committed to its targets. WHAT DO WE REQUIRE THE GOVERNMENT TO DO? We require that it puts an intermediate scenario in place, a pathway to get to 2030 that would provide industry with more security. The heating industry needs assurance that government policy will be in place before it invests heavily in product development and innovation. Current government policy is not giving us the confidence and we cannot make the necessary investments because the government has not yet developed a credible pathway and set of policies that enabled us to meet the 2027 and 2030 targets. WHAT DO WE WANT? The industry requires consistent and clear policy-making rather than the mixed signals, delays and confusion of recent years. We would like to work in partnership with DECC to develop a framework to deliver this. The framework can consist of a mix of interventions, such as incentives, regulation, finance solutions such as the Green Deal, or tilting the playing field through taxes. A good example is the car industry that the European Commission has set output based performance standards for vehicles. If we are given this assurance to invest and with the right interventions from the government to help create demand, then we will invest and innovate. For further information on the HHIC Pathways for Domestic Heat, contact Roger Webb at: roger@hhic.org.uk 12 AUGUST 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY


HPM August 2013
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