WWF’s latest energy report ‘Warm homes, not warm words’ highlights how the opportunity to create warm, affordable low-carbon homes and workplaces is at risk unless the government takes action to tackle the carbon emissions from heating our homes and businesses.
Currently just two per cent of UK heating demand is met by low-carbon sources and the government is “very far” from the 25% goal to be achieved by 2030 outlined in the fourth carbon budget according to the Committee on Climate Change.
Heating accounts for 32% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and 44% of our energy use. Failure to address its contribution to carbon emissions will seriously undermine our efforts to meet our climate change targets.
Zoe Leader, WWF-UK’s climate and energy specialist, 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. That’s not going to happen without stronger government support. The prize at the end will be many more warmer, healthier homes that are cheaper to run.
“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.”
To deliver sustainable and affordable low-carbon heat, the government must:
•Take the lead in highlighting the long-term economic, energy security and environmental benefits of low-carbon heat. The government should provide a balance of regulation and incentives to increase uptake of renewable heat technologies including extending the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to provide certainty to industry.
•Drive action on energy efficiency. This includes making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority and legislation that sets a timeline for regulating improvements in energy efficiency and low-carbon heating
•Elevate the roll-out of low-carbon heat networks to a national infrastructure priority.
•While acknowledging the scale of the challenge, WWF’s report demonstrates that the scenario set out by the Committee on Climate Change can be achieved with the right policies and support. Low carbon heat is one area that can help deliver the step-change in reducing carbon emissions necessary to meet the carbon budgets.
The Renewables Energy Association (REA), Solar Trade Association (STA) and The Wood Heat Association (WHA) have welcomed the report.
REA head of on-site renewables, Mike Landy, said: “Renewable heating has for too long been an afterthought in government’s energy policy, so we are very pleased to see WWF calling for green heat to get the focus it needs and deserves. In particular, the green heating industry needs certainty that the RHI will be maintained and expanded to at least 2020 so that companies can invest in skills and supply chains.
“Retrofitting existing homes with energy efficiency and green heating technology is an urgent priority, helping reduce household energy bills as well as emissions. However, we also need to make sure that new homes won’t need retrofitting down the line. Building Regulations must future-proof new homes by making them truly Zero Carbon, which means building in their own supply of rene