Governance needed to fill heat policy ‘vacuum’

A new independent report has called for new governance arrangements to fill the “vacuum” for decision making and delivery in the heat sector.

Governance needed to fill heat policy ‘vacuum’

The report from the Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology said there is a need for “strong city and local authority level involvement” in heat governance, although the resources to do this do not currently exist.

The whole programme would also benefit from “national coordination”, the report says.

For the UK to meet its carbon targets as agreed to in Paris it will have to decarbonise heat in over 20 million buildings, but there is “no one silver bullet” to do this, with a range of solutions each having a role to play.

These include using the existing gas grid for hydrogen, electrification through heat pumps and district heating networks.

The report said: “By starting now on the planning and preparation and by spreading activity over 20 30 year infrastructure investment programmes, the task can be made much more manageable and acceptable to the public.”

However it warned that the infrastructure option and rate of deployment may well be determined by non-financial impacts and disruption from the transition as well as customer acceptance rather than just economics.

It has also called for more pilot programmes such as Northern Gas Network’s H21 project in Leeds.

The Energy Networks Association’s director of policy Tony Glover, who sat on the advisory board for the report, said: “The use of green gas, including hydrogen, in the gas network is an area of exciting potential being explored by gas distribution network companies.

“Alongside other forms of green gas, hydrogen could play a role in decarbonising heat demand, whilst making efficient use of existing network infrastructure which currently serves 85% of buildings.”

The role hydrogen and shale could play in the future of gas in the UK was discussed at an event held in Leeds by Nrothern Gas Networks. Read more here.


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