NIBE Energy Systems welcomes the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero report which sets out how the UK can end its contribution to global warming. The Committee finds that meeting a net zero target by 2050 is feasible and the costs are manageable. However, the report stresses that over ten years since the Climate Change Act was introduced, the UK still has no serious plan for decarbonising UK heating systems. The Government must act quickly to develop a clear strategy to decarbonise heat which will require the mass roll out of heat pumps and other low carbon solutions alongside high levels of energy efficiency.
Importantly, the Committee found that the costs of meeting the target are aligned with the costs that were accepted in 2008 when the current 80% reduction target was legislated, meaning that achieving a more ambitious target will only cost around 1-2% of GDP in 2050. In addition to the carbon reduction benefits, there are a series of wider benefits that will be felt across the UK as part of the transition including the provision of superior service for customers, health benefits, economic benefits and improved air quality. Finally, it will also increase export opportunities, productivity and jobs.
New buildings are one of the most straightforward and cost-effective areas to decarbonise. However to do so will require the setting of ambitious regulations and introducing the Government’s Future Homes Standard by 2025, ensuring that no new homes are connected to the gas grid and that they have world leading levels of energy efficiency. Instead these properties should be fitted with efficient, low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps.
The report highlights that addressing buildings off the gas grid is a low-regrets opportunity for deploying low-carbon heat, and heat pumps in particular. For existing homes almost all heating system replacements by 2035 must be low carbon but policy is required now to encourage households to switch. This increased deployment of low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps will see the share of low carbon heat rise from only 4.5% today to 90% in 2050. To achieve this, a clear trajectory is needed for all building sectors and strong signals are needed to encourage action and key trigger points for households such as when a home is sold or renovated.
Phil Hurley said:
“The changes required to meet this new target will be significant but they are essential. As noted by the Committee, we are now in a crucial period in the efforts to tackle climate change and the report published today calls for increased ambition. We welcome this and the recommendations within the publication.
“The UK has the ability to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 using current technology and building on existing policy frameworks. However, to achieve the target we must ramp up activity and set to work immediately. Decarbonising our building stock is a particular challenge and one that must be urgently addressed. Policy thus far has failed to effectively drive take up of heat pumps, but to meet the target, a mass roll out is needed.
“The report highlights the need for Government intervention and NIBE Energy Systems looks forward to working with Government, the Committee on Climate Change and industry partners to develop a supportive policy framework which will enable a smooth and cost-effective transition to a net zero future.”