Cadent, the UK’s largest gas distribution company, has unveiled its green report highlighting plans to decarbonise homes.
Green Print – Future Heat for Everyone draws together technical, consumer, and electric considerations to create a ‘pioneering plan’ to transition 22 million UK homes to low carbon heat by 2030.
The plan underlines the scale of the challenge ahead, acknowledging that a mosaic of low carbon heating solutions will be required to meet the needs of individual communities, and setting out 12 key steps on how to achieve this goal.
According to the Climate Change Committee, an investment spend of £250 billion (€289 billion) is needed to upgrade insulation and heating in homes, as well as provide the infrastructure to deliver the energy. Cadent described this as a task of “unprecedented scale”, equivalent to retrofitting 67,000 homes every month from now until 2025.
Approximately 80% of homes that will exist in 2050 have already been built, said Cadent. The energy performance of these buildings remains relatively poor with 61% of the housing stock rated as Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band D or below, meaning there is room for improvement. For households in fuel poverty, this figure is as high as 90%.
Among the report’s top priorities are demonstrating that hydrogen is safe; enabling the development of a hydrogen economy today, prioritising innovation; ending the necessary ‘format wars; and creating the right incentives to decarbonise heating and deliver net zero.
Dr Tony Balance, chief strategy and regulation officer, said: “Reports and studies have, so far, largely focused on the economic and technical aspects of the transition, leaving most consumers with little understanding of the impact of such changes on their current heating systems, or the options available to them. We believe this must change.
“Consumer needs will be best met when they are central to decisions, understanding their views on heating and beginning engagement early, being upfront on how much the transition will cost and ending unnecessary ‘format wars’ over which technology will win.
“The installation of all low-carbon technologies will create some disruption for many. All solutions are likely to cost more. But if we fail to get this right, we will fail to gain public support – and that means we will risk failing to make the transition away from fossil gas.
“This will require engagement from customers, industry and government and a willingness to move beyond an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate between the gas and electricity industry.”