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Government unveils multi-million pound heating opportunities in Clean Growth Strategy

Ambitious strategy sets new boiler efficiency standards and includes up to £20 million for innovations in low carbon heating and energy efficient retrofits

The government has launched its strategy for low carbon growth, setting out plans for reducing the carbon in heating and improving energy efficiency in buildings.

The Clean Growth strategy enshrines long awaited minimum boiler efficiency standards, which include mandatory controls for the first time, and signals an intent to end conventional oil-fired heating.

In launching the strategy Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry said: “The impact of the Paris agreement and the unstoppable global shift towards low carbon technologies gives the UK an unparalleled opportunity. By focusing on Clean Growth, we can cut the cost of energy, drive economic prosperity, create high value jobs and improve our quality of life.”

The strategy has a wide-ranging plan for rolling out low-carbon heating. The plan includes:

  • Build and extend heat networks across the country, underpinned with public funding (allocated in the Spending Review 2015) out to 2021
  • Phase out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating in new and existing homes currently off the gas grid during the 2020s, starting with new homes
  • Improve standards on the 1.2 million new boilers installed every year in England and require installations of control devices to help people save energy
  • Invest in low carbon heating by reforming the Renewable Heat Incentive, spending £4.5 billion to support innovative low carbon heat technologies in homes and businesses between 2016 and 2021
  • Invest around £184 million of public funds, including two new £10 million innovation programmes to develop new energy efficiency and heating technologies to enable lower cost low carbon homes

The strategy envisages a huge programme of improvements to domestic energy efficiency, which will have significant benefits for the heating and insulation sectors.

It sets out a three point programme of upgrades to make domestic housing more energy-efficient:

1. £3.6 billion of investment to upgrade around a million homes through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), and extend support for home energy efficiency improvements from 2022 to 2028 at ‘at least the current level of ECO funding’

2. It says: ‘We want all fuel poor homes to be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030 and our aspiration is for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2035 where practical, cost effective and affordable’

3. Develop a long term trajectory to improve the energy performance standards of privately-rented homes, with the aim of upgrading as many private rented homes as possible to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030 where practical, cost effective and affordable

Alongside this will be a programme for commercial energy to support businesses to ‘improve their energy productivity by at least 20 per cent by 2030’.

These include:

1. Following the outcome of the independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety, and subject to its conclusions, consulting on improving the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial buildings

2. Consulting on raising minimum standards of energy efficiency for rented commercial buildings

3. Exploring how voluntary building standards can support improvements in the energy efficiency performance of business buildings, and how we can improve the provision of information and advice on energy efficiency to SMEs

4. Simplifying the requirements for businesses to measure and report on energy use, to help them identify where they can cut bills

5. Other key moves include an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to ‘help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills’.

The department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “For the first time the government is setting out in today’s Strategy how over £2.5 billion [of existing spending] will be invested to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, as part of the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation in over three decades.



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