UK Government Releases Plan to Drive Down the Cost of Clean Heating
The Heat and Building Strategy published on 18 October, outlines the government's approach to clean energy implementation in UK homes. Grants of £5,000 per household have been announced as part of the £450m, 3-year boiler upgrade scheme. This is only a small part of the £3.9bn of total funding committed to decarbonise heat and buildings by 2035.
Low carbon heating systems will soon be on an equal footing price-wise as traditional gas boilers, making them a viable option for most households to install. It is already known that gas boilers will be banned from new built homes by 2025, along with hints at a total gas boiler ban in the future.
The boiler upgrade scheme can be viewed as a tool to accelerate and facilitate a pre-existing government agenda on decarbonisation. It also comes in response to high volatility in global gas prices over in recent weeks. Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the move would “protect consumers in [the] long term”, as well as reducing the nation's reliance on fossil fuels.
The announcement of the Heat and Buildings Strategy has been welcomed by actors in the renewable energy sector. Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy, commented that the price control initiated by this policy would “allow companies to invest in scaling up their clean heating operations.”
British manufacturing has concurrently announced a £60m heat pump ready innovation programme, part of the £1bn net-zero Innovation portfolio. This aims to drive technological innovation, further increasing the commercial viability of clean energy tech. The government expects the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs in the heat pump industry as a result of today’s announcements.
Grants will be made available from April 2022.
What does this mean for the tech sector?
Although heat pumps are already a predominant technology in the sector across Europe, we still need to work with the tech sector and government to build up the UK supply chains and drive down costs.
The technology is there, we need to ensure that our supply chains are there as to decarbonise our buildings, create more flexibility, and achieve net-zero. Traditionally, many buildings have been passive energy consumers. Smart, digital technology provides greater choice, flexibility, and control to consumers.
Great strides have been done already, considering the Energy Digitalisation Strategy, developed by the government, Ofgem and Innovate UK in coordination with the energy sector, sets out a vision and suite of policies to digitalise the energy system. Digitalisation will enable millions of low-carbon assets, including solar PV, electric vehicles, and heat pumps, to be optimised across our energy system by providing the necessary data to significant stakeholders in a timely, safe, and secure way.
techUK’s Smart Energy and Utilities programme aims at delivering the next generation of technological solutions for the sector. We will continue to work together with government, the regulators, and the tech sector to provide expertise, knowledge and bring digital technology to the forefront.
Teodora’s rich background varies from working in business development for a renewable energy lobbying association in Brussels to the fast moving technology innovation startup scene in the UK.
She has designed the market strategy for a German renewable energy engineering scale up for the UK, listed on Nasdaq private market, and now one of the fastest growing scale ups in the world. Previous experience also includes managing a renewable energy startup in London, which has built a small-scale biomass CHP power plant. Teodora is passionate about cross-industry collaboration and working together with academia to inform the design of future educational models and skill building.
Most recently Teodora has ran the commercial activities and business development at Future Cities Catapult, focusing on innovation in cities, digital health and wellbeing, mobility, and infrastructure. Teodora is a passionate STEM Ambassador and a vocal advocate for women in tech.