Green gas fundamental to UK heat policy

Mike Foster

Mike Foster

The need for far greater energy efficiency policy across non-residential building stock has been exposed across three new reports from the government’s climate change watchdog, which has claimed the UK is on course to reach just half of its emissions targets by 2030.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has released a series of studies covering areas of policy development needed to reduce emissions in heat, meet the Paris agreement obligations and respond to the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The CCC’s ‘Next steps for UK heat policy’ report claims energy performance in business is assessed “infrequently and often not discussed at senior management or board level, and so has little strategic value or ‘salience’”.

Considering the impact energy costs can have on companies, particularly those in energy intensive industries where bills can range between five and 25% of turnover, the report states: “Investing in energy efficiency is therefore a strategic priority”.

Responding to the publication of ‘Next Steps for UK Heat Policy’ published last Thursday by the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) chief executive, Mike Foster, said: “This report is most welcome as it offers solutions that we hope the government will act upon. Using the gas grid to help decarbonise heat for UK homes is just one of the many recommendations that EUA has been making.

“Over 85% of UK homes use gas as their choice of heating fuel, so asking people to replace their heating system and ignore the years of investment made in the gas grid itself makes no sense. Decarbonising the gas going into the grid, using so called green gases such as Biomethane and bio SNG in addition to hydrogen, will deliver affordable and sustainable solutions to the challenges the UK faces and we will continue to work with the CCC to this end.

“We know that heating and hot water in UK buildings accounts for 40% of our energy use and is responsible for 20% of our greenhouse gas emissions. If the UK is to meet its’ legally binding carbon targets it will have to decarbonise heat. We are pleased the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking at heat and have consulted widely, hopefully a new published heat strategy will follow.