UK Power Networks launches new project to decarbonise heat
The electricity distributor is launching a ‘first-of-a-kind’ project to help local communities map out their net-zero carbon future. The Heat Street initiative will take a data-driven look into the future to help local authorities in London, the south and east of England plan systems to cater for a ‘significant rise’ in low-carbon heating and energy efficiency measures.
According to UK Power Networks, heating accounts for around one-third of UK carbon emissions – almost 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, official estimates suggest. With the UK government’s legally-binding commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 rapidly approaching, equipping the country with affordable, low-carbon heating “remains a major challenge,” says the firm.
“We all know why we need to rapidly decarbonise heating,” said Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks, “this project is about working out the ‘how’.
“We’re excited to be getting out there and collaborating to decarbonise heat, bringing together people from all backgrounds to create a local street-level map of net-zero heating pathways by 2050.”
Under the project, UK Power Networks’ engineers will analyse energy efficiency trends and carry out heat zoning assessments by combining information about the properties, homes, and socio-economics of each area. This will enable engineers and strategists to create custom forecasts to identify the most efficient pathway to zero-carbon heating, and even produce bespoke plans for specific local areas.
The project will consider a range of heating alternatives, including switching from gas boilers to electric heat pumps, installing cavity wall insulation, switching to another type of heating supply, or combinations of all.
Charlotte Owen, policy manager at the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), said: “UK Power Networks’ innovative ‘Heat Street’ project will help to demonstrate the opportunities presented by a local, zoned approach to heat decarbonisation.
“It will provide real examples of how we can strategically decarbonise our homes and buildings while recognising that different local areas will take different pathways to net-zero.
“The ADE Is delighted to be supporting UK Power Networks in the launch of this innovative project, which builds on the work of the association and its members to advocate for a zoned approach to heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency.”