The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has provided independent research and analysis across the whole energy system since 2004, with funding provided by the Research Councils through a succession of five year phases.

Due to the late submission of this response, we acknowledge the recently announced 10 point climate plan, and have included some initial comments as follows:

  • We welcome that a target of 600,000 heat pumps is included in the plan as this provides some clear direction for industry. However this is purely a target and it requires a thorough policy and governance framework to both support deployment and protect consumers.
  • Despite the clear case for district heating, it is overlooked in the plan, and there is a lack of focus on energy efficiency despite the expected centrality of both of these technologies.

In the remainder of this submission we address the inquiry questions where UKERC evidence and analysis provides us with relevant insights. We draw upon UKERC reports and the wider literature in order to provide evidence based answers to a number of the Committee’s core questions.

Key points include:

  • Previous and current energy policies have failed to tackle the decarbonisation of heat and energy efficiency in homes. We need to learn lessons from the past and from international exemplars, to ensure that effective policies are developed that implement the changes required.
  • Government should legislate for the ban on new homes using fossil fuels as soon as possible.
  • Capital funding will be needed to support householders. The funding provided by the Green Homes Grant and the future Clean Heat Grant (as proposed) is not commensurate with the level of investment required.
  • Major community trials and public engagement activities are requires to identify key acceptability barriers associated with particular heat decarbonisation options.
  • Meeting statutory carbon targets should not place an undue burden of responsibility on households that are struggling to meet basic needs. The current approach of funding low-carbon policies, via household energy bills must be reviewed, a general taxation approach would better align energy demand with policy costs, and would reduce costs for the majority of UK households.
  • There is an urgent need for a body, to provide heat decarbonisation oversight at a national level. The Government must take on a significant coordination role, a role which is currently not being filled by anyone.
  • An in situ hydrogen for heat trial is urgently required, to uncover costs and technical challenges. This should not detract for the urgent requirement to deploy known low carbon heating technologies now.