NIBE releases a vision for UK homes off the gas grid

Published:  13 October, 2017

NIBE has released a paper in response to the launch of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, with its proposals for driving the future of renewables.

Energy in the UK, and how we generate and conserve it, is high on the agenda with government and business leaders debating as to where our energy will come from in the future and how we can use it in smarter ways.

This has been recognised in the Clean Growth Strategy, which outlines the objectives for the UK to meet its carbon targets. NIBE Energy Systems welcomes the publication and has shared its own policy paper, which highlights what it believes is required to drive forward the installation of renewable energy systems and ensure that all homes can accommodate low carbon heating in the future.

The paper focuses on opportunities to deploy heat pumps, initially in the off gas grid market, which is dominated by carbon intensive fuels such as heating oil and coal that the government aims to transition away from. NIBE welcomes the government’s commitment to phase out these high-carbon heating fuels during the 2020s.

“There has never been a better time for the UK to champion heat pumps in domestic applications and to encourage greater market penetration of such heating systems, learning from what our European counterparts have achieved,” said Phil Hurley, Managing Director of NIBE Energy Systems.

“It is our aim to work with the government to encourage homeowners to replace fossil fuels with renewable heating systems, thereby unlocking the potential for homeowners to make significant contributions in reducing UK carbon emissions.”

NIBE’s paper provides five policy recommendations that support the Clean Growth Strategy:

1. Ensure homes built today are constructed to modern standards, which should enable low carbon heating systems to be easily and cost-effectively installed. This is particularly important in off-grid areas.

2. Target off-grid properties with either regulation (mandating a carbon intensity value for the heating system) or by pricing the emission externality to facilitate a shift away from the most carbon intensive fossil fuels.

3. Help tackle the upfront cost barrier by providing some of the domestic RHI subsidy as an upfront payment, or by supporting an oil/coal boiler scrappage scheme.

4. Engage the installer base. Reduce the barriers they face and provide incentives to offer heat pumps as an alternative technology in off-grid areas.

5. Build policy, which takes advantage of the flexibility and load shifting services that heat pumps can provide to the National Grid. Enable time of use tariffs so the smart heat pumps can adjust usage based on grid and market signals.

NIBE believes that implementation of a co-ordinated long-term strategy to decarbonise our buildings is needed, and the release of the Clean Growth Strategy sets a clear direction of travel towards low carbon heating technologies.

“It is evident that the UK heat pump market is not achieving its full potential and this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Phil.

“It is imperative that the discrepancies on specific targets are challenged and that policy is written to support this. By targeting off grid areas to remove expensive, inefficient and unsustainable oil systems, the government can make homes warmer and more comfortable whilst reducing our carbon footprint and reliance on polluting fuels.”

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