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Green Finance Institute launches Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce to unlock investment

Heating and hot water currently account for almost 40% of the UK’s energy consumption.

Heating and hot water currently account for almost 40% of the UK’s energy consumption.

The Green Finance Institute has launched a Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce, to develop a portfolio of financial solutions to unlock investment in the sector.

It will form part of the Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings (CEEB), and will bring together a group of members from financial services, local and national government, the energy and construction industries, academia and civil society as well as experts from the heating sector to design, launch and scale financing mechanisms for heat.

This will help enable the rapid adoption of zero-carbon heating technologies for individual buildings and entire districts around the UK.

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, chief executive, Green Finance Institute, said that focusing on heating an hot water was a “natural step” for the CEEB, “which is working to create financial pathways to the widescale adoption of retrofitting across all residential tenures.

“We are delighted to convene this group of experts to move quickly to launch financial products and mechanisms enabling every home to access zero-carbon heating.”

The taskforce will conduct a review of the heating sector to identify barriers and enablers for investment in heating in the UK’s housing market, before working leverage its findings to design and launch financial products and non-financials enablers to spur on the sector.

Heating and hot water currently accounts for almost 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly there are calls for greater support for decarbonisation in the sector, to allow the UK to hit its net zero carbon emissions by 2050 target.

The CBI called on the government to accelerate the heat pump rollout this week, for example. Whilst the Carbon Trust stated the technology had a “critical role” to play in London reaching net zero recently.

Charlotte Owen, policy manager at the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), one of the taskforce’s members, said: “To decarbonise the UK’s heating, it needs to be more attractive to invest in low carbon heating, including city-scale heat networks, than in fossil gas boilers and fossil gas networks.

“To achieve this, we need to reform the signals to investors and ensure policy incentivises investment in a low cost, low carbon, high comfort offer to consumers. The ADE is delighted, therefore, to be taking part in the Green Finance Institute’s Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce, which will make a meaningful contribution to shaping the low carbon investment landscape.”

The Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce will follow the same action-focused strategy as the CEEB, according to the Green Finance Institute.

Launched in December 2019, the CEEB has established the case for retrofitting buildings to a high energy efficiency standard, analysed current investment barriers and generated a portfolio of 21 financial demonstration projects that are commercial, scalable and mobilise capital flows for driving retrofitting. Of these 21, the first is set to launch later in September.

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