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Heating sector supports CCC Sixth Carbon Budget

There has been widespread support from the industry for the Sixth Carbon Budget of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) but there is a hint of caution from some.

NIBE MD Phil Hurley, HHIC director Stewart Clements, UKIFDA chief executive Guy Pulham, Baxi Heating MD Karen Boswell and OFTEC head of public affairs Malcolm Farrow have all commented on the Committee on Climate Change's Sixth Carbon Budget report

The CCC has recommended that the heat pump market is scaled up over the next 10 to 15 years in advance of a fossil fuel phase out of boiler installations. By 2030, heat pump sales must reach over one million per year in new and existing homes.

It also calls for a 78% reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2035 and sets out the world’s first pathway for a fully decarbonised economy, tackling all sectors. Its Net Zero Balanced Pathway calls for building emissions to fall by 45%-65% by 2035.

Director of the Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) Stewart Clements said: “We welcome the CCC’s ambition to have 5.5 million heat pumps installed by 2030 and also the recognition of hydrogen and the real potential it offers to decarbonise heat, affordably.”

“HHIC represents the whole heating sector and we will be working with our members to understand the implications of this report and how we can assist BEIS with the transition. As an industry we are committed to helping and supporting the UK reach our carbon reduction targets.”

“However, we must proceed with caution. Having ambition is positive but we have to be prepared for what happens if we can't meet that ambition. The accelerated timelines will be very difficult to achieve in practice. BEIS need to urgently engage with the heating industry to fully understand what we can start to deliver, and what we will need to put into place.”

“For example, more work is going to be needed on reskilling the workforce and developing supply chains. Red tape will need to be reduced to allow greater participation in government support schemes like the RHI and Green Homes Grant.”

“If a collaborative approach is adopted the heating industry is confident it can reduce emissions to meet our net zero goals.”

Karen Boswell, managing director at Baxi Heating, said:“We recognise the role of sustainable heating technology in achieving these goals and welcome the plans for all new boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025, and the ambitions to achieve 5.5 million heat pump installations by 2030.

“We fully support these low carbon technologies; we are proud to be developing and testing one of the UK’s first 100% hydrogen boilers and have recently launched our own comprehensive range of high-performance heat pumps.

“We believe the CCC’s ambitions will require the backing of robust policy to make this roadmap a reality. Plans for EPC Band C rating to be able to rent and sell homes, in addition to the phasing out of oil and fossil fuel boilers off the gas grid, are examples of this. A strong consumer education campaign will also be important for supporting homeowners and commercial building owners to make the necessary changes.

“There are several important publications expected in the near future, which should help to further shape how the UK will set out to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and create an even clearer view.

“We look forward to working closely with Government to continue developing our low carbon offering, helping us to meet the CCC’s ambitions and ensuring we play a key role in revolutionising the way we heat our homes and buildings in the future.

Phil Hurley, managing director at NIBE Energy Systems, said: “The Sixth Carbon Budget provides the Government with the route map it needs to develop its policy pathway to net zero. It is critical that this is provided as soon as possible to provide certainty and direction to industry. Installers and the wider supply chain are key to delivering on these recommendations; this must be recognised and acknowledged with urgency.

We have already seen some positive announcements from the Government in recent months, including the target to deploy 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, and an emissions reduction of 68%. This Budget sends a signal, however, that more must be done.”

Meanwhile both OFTEC and UKIFDA have also lent their support but have called for inclusion of liquid biofuels in future heat policy.

Malcolm Farrow, head of public affairs at OFTEC, said:“The Sixth Carbon Budget report clearly sets out the scale of the UK’s challenge to reach net zero, particularly in heating.

“We also welcome the inclusion of biokerosene within the range of low carbon heating options endorsed for off-gas grid homes in the road map.

“OFTEC believes that if backed by the right policy support, the use of renewable liquid fuels could enable the CCC’s ambition to end the installation of new fossil fuel oil boilers in rural homes by 2028 to be achieved even sooner.

“The rapid deployment of a renewable liquid fuel, namely Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), would meet the CCC’s requirements to quickly gain ground on emissions cutting. This near drop-in replacement for heating oil offers a carbon reduction of approximately 91% which is significantly greater than heat pumps can achieve until the electricity grid is more fully decarbonised later in the 2030s.

“Existing oil heated households could switch to an HVO solution at a fraction of the cost of installing other low carbon technologies. Household disruption is also minimal, making this a ‘frictionless’ option that overcomes two of the main barriers to heat decarbonisation that currently exist.

“The overriding challenge for government now is to develop policies that are fair, affordable and effective – a point emphasised by the CCC.”

UKIFDA chief executive Guy Pulham said: “Many of the CCC recommendations and timelines would allow our members to play a part in achieving the net-zero aims but it is important that government recognises the role liquid biofuels can play in decarbonising both heat and transport and whilst we were pleased to see that bio-kerosene is mentioned by the CCC we wanted to see that talked more about in the wider sense of being an option for heat policy as well as transport.

“It is important that consumers have choice and we again urge the government to include liquid biofuels in policy for off the gas grid homes. Hydrogen is an option as an alternative to gas heating as well as heat pumps and rural consumers should be given choice of the solutions they use to decarbonise their home heating otherwise they will unfairly face enormous expense.

“Up to 65% of oil heated properties (765,000 homes) are in EPC Bands E-G and among the least energy efficient homes in the UK and will take more than the proposed £10,000 per property average upgrade cost to bring a property up to EPC C.

“At a time when COVID-19 is having devasting effects on people’s jobs and finances we should, as a country, be looking to ensure we don’t place additional financial burdens on households and government must focus on putting in place a policy framework that will create a competitive market and drive down prices, enabling consumers to select low carbon products that best suit their needs and budgets.

10 December 2020

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