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Government called on to set heat as a policy priority

A new independent report has called on the next government to set heat as a policy priority for the coming decade.

Pathways for Heat: Low Carbon Heat for Buildings, published today (17 November), takes stock of what the UK understands about the challenge of decarbonising heat for buildings by comparing six pathways for the sector to 2050 from a variety of different organisations (the Department for Energy & Climate Change, the Committee for Climate Change, the Energy Technologies Institute, the National Grid, the UK Energy Research Centre and Delta-ee).

Chaired by shadow energy minister Jonathan Reynolds MP and Conservative member of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, Dan Byles MP, it was written by cross-party think tank group Carbon Connect.

It identifies that by 2050, gas used to heat buildings could fall by between 75% and 95%, electricity increase from a 10% share to between 30% and 80% of the market, and district heat increase from less than 2% to up to a 40% share.

At the same time, energy efficiency could help lower bills and offset the expected growth in our heating needs from an expanding population and building stock.

Across most pathways the report examined, mass deployment of low-carbon heat solutions ramps up in the lead-in to 2030.

Carbon Connect recommended that the next decade be spent preparing by developing a strategy for decarbonising heat in buildings while testing and scaling up delivery models.

The report called for the next government to prioritise these preparations in the same way that preparing for power sector decarbonisation had been the overriding focus of energy policy over the past decade.

Energy and Utilities Alliance chief executive Mike Foster said: “This report is most welcome as it adds to the weight of evidence policymakers have outlining the huge challenge the UK faces in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping secure energy supplies and ensuring we can all afford to heat our homes.

“At the heart of the debate will be the future role of gas, the part that installers can play in helping consumers choose and the need for politicians to spell out more clearly the implications for all of us.”

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