Off Grid, Off Carbon: Regulating the decarbonisation of heat

Categories: Press Release

Earlier this year, the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) published a consultation paper demonstrating how the introduction of a carbon intensity standard could help decarbonise heat and put the UK on the path to net zero. Following invaluable feedback provided from industry stakeholders, the SEA thanks contributors and unveils its latest policy paper, Off Grid, Off Carbon: Regulating the Decarbonisation of Heat in homes off the gas grid. The SEA is amongst the first trade associations in the UK to consult on how a carbon intensity standard could be administered in the UK, and it is hoped that the key recommendations within this publication will help to inform the Government’s forthcoming Buildings Strategy.

Shaped by the input of wider stakeholders within the energy industry, the paper calls on the Government to announce plans to consult on the introduction of a carbon intensity standard for heating within the aforementioned Buildings Strategy. A carbon intensity standard would be administered at the industry level though encouraged through a range of enablers to facilitate its introduction, such as the rebalancing of fuel duties, customer incentives and a robust enforcement framework. Together, these would complement energy efficiency improvements and encourage greater uptake of insulation and low carbon heating systems in a way that guarantees the decarbonisation of heat whilst maintaining consumer choice. This ‘whole house’ approach would be key to ensuring that the proposed regulatory framework decarbonises homes that are not connected to the gas grid. The regulation has been designed to only apply to heating systems at the point of replacement to minimise disruption.

Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association commented, “This report is a demonstration of how industry can collaborate to tackle some of the greatest challenges ahead of us, and there is no doubt that heat decarbonisation is one of those. At a time of great uncertainty, it is paramount that regulation is introduced to provide confidence and stability so that investors and manufacturers of low carbon heating systems can scale up investment and production, encourage innovation, and upskill the workforce. The input into this report has highlighted consensus on the urgent need for regulation to decarbonise domestic heat, and the SEA is hopeful that the proposals put forward will influence Government plans to decarbonise the UK’s building stock and ensure that homes are fit for the generations to come.”

The policy paper addresses heat decarbonisation as one of the toughest challenges the UK will need to overcome to meet net zero emissions by 2050, something the Committee on Climate Change  (CCC) recognised in their recent Progress Report to Parliament in which a low-carbon heat strategy was identified as a key priority. The proposals put forward in this report today offer a means to ensure that heating is on the trajectory needed to avert the climate crisis, starting with the phase out of fossil fuels in homes built off the gas grid. The SEA encourages industry and policymakers to read the full report and look forward to engaging with those committed to heat decarbonisation.