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SEA calls on government to bring in carbon intensity standard to decarbonise heat

Carbon intensity standard could help drive down emissions in heating.

Carbon intensity standard could help drive down emissions in heating.

The Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) has called on the government to bring in a carbon intensity standard to help drive down emissions in heating.

Following a consultation with industry stakeholders, the association has produced a new report, Off Grid, Off Carbon: Regulating the Decarbonisation of Heat in homes off the gas grid. It outlines the benefits of introducing a carbon intensity standard for heating within the Buildings Strategy.

It found that there is a “clear need for government intervention” if the UK is to phase out fossil fuel heating in the gas grid, as outlined in the Clean Growth Strategy.

Therefore the government should introduce a carbon intensity standard at an industry level for heating systems being replaced. It should be supported through a range of enablers, such as the rebalancing of fuel duties, customer incentives and a robust enforcement framework.

Such a policy would be complimentary to energy efficiency improvements, and low carbon heating systems.

Jade Lewis, chief executive of the SEA said the report is an example of how collaboration can help tack “some of the greatest challenges ahead of us” of which the decarbonisation of heat is certainly one.

“At a time of great uncertainty, it is paramount that regulation is introduced to provide confidence and stability so that investors and manufacturers of low carbon heating systems can scale up investment and production, encourage innovation, and upskill the workforce.

“The input into this report has highlighted consensus on the urgent need for regulation to decarbonise domestic heat, and the SEA is hopeful that the proposals put forward will influence Government plans to decarbonise the UK’s building stock and ensure that homes are fit for the generations to come.”

Regulation, according to the SEA, must form part of a whole house approach, with both efforts to reduce demand and transition to low carbon.

The request comes after a report from the Energy Systems Catapult this week found consumers had very little understanding of the need to transition boilers.

It suggested that innovation is needed to make the switch to low carbon heating affordable, and to ensure that it delivers comparable or superior performance to natural gas boilers.

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