A new report from the CBI and the University of Birmingham wants to see conventional gas boilers banned in all homes from 2025.
The commission’s report Net Zero: The Road to Low-Carbon Heat also recommends that there is a programme of ‘substantial acceleration’ in decarbonising heat in buildings and industrial processes.
To meet the 2025 target would require ‘hydrogen ready’ boilers to replace conventional gas boilers in all homes, alongside existing technologies such as heat pumps and hybrid systems
To ensure the UK is on track to meet net-zero emissions by 2050, all new heating installations will need to be zero-carbon by 2035, the report says.
“By then only net-zero compatible technologies like air source or ground source heat pumps, hydrogen boilers or heat networks should be deployed.”
The reports other recommendations include:
A national energy efficiency programme, in order to successfully deliver low-carbon heat, building on the funding announced by the Chancellor through the Green Homes Grant.
Establishing a time-limited ‘Olympics-style’ national delivery body to lead the development and implementation of a national heat decarbonisation strategy, which can be delivered by relevant government departments and co-ordinated at both a regional and local level.
Decarbonising transport and industrial emissions reduction, decentralising electricity supplies and supporting local energy plans devised by local authorities.
Prioritising energy efficiency to prepare for the roll-out of a nationwide heat infrastructure upgrade that will support new jobs and skills opportunities.
The report adds that predicted costs for a hydrogen-ready boiler could cost an extra £50-100 for the consumer, when compared to the equivalent natural gas boiler in the early years of the roll-out. But it predicts that prices will fall with time, saying ‘as more people adopt the technology, the cost is expected to reduce to the same as a natural gas boiler.’
CBI President and Heat Commission Chair, Lord Karan Bilimoria, said: “A green recovery and progress towards the UK’s net-zero emission target are doomed to fail if we don’t address the urgent need to decarbonise the heat in our homes and buildings. Recent government announcements will undoubtedly fast-forward our transition towards net-zero. The commission’s recommendations offer a roadmap to accelerate progress, ensure our nation stays on a path to sustainable recovery and ensures the UK remains a global leader in meeting climate commitments. There’s also a strong economic case for protecting our planet. Large scale heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency would provide a huge jobs boost for the economy at a time when new career opportunities are needed more than ever.”
Professor Martin Freer, University of Birmingham, said: “Delivering decarbonisation of heating is the biggest energy challenge we face in getting to net-zero. Unlike electricity, which can be changed at a systems level, it requires over 20 million households to adopt new energy efficiency measures and new ways of generating heat. There is not a single technology choice and the scale-up required in skills, manufacturing, distribution infrastructure and consumer engagement is huge…The level of complexity and the urgency for change means the transition cannot be left to chance and a national delivery body is essential.”