A review of the international experience of policies to promote the uptake of low-carbon heat supply

This evidence review evaluates the effectiveness of different policy approaches to support heat supply or infrastructure transitions internationally. Focusing on heat pump deployment and the roll out of district heating, the research identifies lessons from the international policy experience and assesses how relevant these might be to the UK context. The report explores the role of different policies – including regulation, fiscal policies, incentives, planning policy and of different models of governance. It also considers historical and contextual factors such as ownership structures, resource endowments and energy prices.

The review was undertaken by the TPA team in response to widespread stakeholder interest in policies related to the decarbonisation of heat. It informs the Committee on Climate Change review of heat decarbonisation and seeks to inform the UK Government’s heat strategy, forthcoming in 2017. The main aim of the research is to review and evaluate policies and policy packages used to bring about a substantial change in the technologies and infrastructures used to provide space heating and hot water for homes and businesses.

The key question that this TPA project therefore asked is: What policies and other factors have driven change/transformation in heat delivery technologies, fuels and infrastructure?

Project outputs:

Findings can be found in the project’s primary output, a Working Paper published in December 2016: Heat: What Works? Working Paper

Details on the project and the approach can be found in the scoping note: Heat. What Works? Scoping Note

Read the associated journal paper ‘Path dependency in provision of domestic heating’ published in Nature Energy ,volume 4, pages 358–364 (2019)

Evidence from this project also fed into the BEIS report ‘Heat decarbonisation: overview of current evidence base‘ and was cited by the Committee on Climate Change in their report Next Steps for Low Carbon Heat.