Call for evidence launched on decarbonising heat in homes

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The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has launched an inquiry examining the path to decarbonising heating in homes.

To reach the Government’s net zero target, all buildings need to be decarbonised by 2050. In practice this means achieving a very high standard of energy efficiency and switching to heating through zero-carbon (or very low-carbon) sources.

Decarbonising heat is widely seen as the most difficult aspect of delivering the net zero ambition because of the scale, cost and complexity of the challenge.

However, there is currently no clear long-term heat policy. The Government is expected to address this in its ‘Buildings and Heat Strategy’ due in November.

The BEIS Committee will examine the Government’s ‘Buildings and Heat Strategy’, and investigate the policies, priorities and timelines which are needed to decarbonise heating in residential buildings and help ensure the UK gets on track to deliver Net Zero by 2050.

The decarbonising heat in homes inquiry is likely to examine areas such as the technological challenges to decarbonising heat including issues related to the future of hydrogen, network capacity and the distribution of costs, incentives, consumer engagement and protection, and how to co-ordinate and deliver low-carbon heating.

The inquiry will scrutinise the Government’s ‘Buildings and Heat Strategy’ to assess whether it is sufficiently ambitious and credible and reflect on the Climate Assembly’s recommendations in this area.

Evidence can be submitted to the committee until Friday 13 November 2020.

More information about the inquiry and submitting evidence is available here

The terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:

  1. What has been the impact of past and current policies for low carbon heat, and what lessons can be learnt, including examples from devolved administrations and international comparators?
  2. What key policies, priorities and timelines should be included in the Government’s forthcoming ‘Buildings and Heat Strategy’ to ensure that the UK is on track to deliver Net Zero? What are the most urgent decisions and actions that need to be taken over the course of this Parliament (by 2024)?
  3. Which technologies are the most viable to deliver the decarbonisation of heating, and what would be the most appropriate mix of technologies across the UK?
  4. What are the barriers to scaling up low carbon heating technologies? What is needed to overcome these barriers?
  5. How can the costs of decarbonising heat be distributed fairly across consumers, taxpayers, business and government, taking account of the fuel poor and communities affected by the transition? What is the impact of the existing distribution of environmental levies across electricity, gas and fuel bills on drivers for switching to low carbon heating, and should this distribution be reviewed?
  6. What incentives and regulatory measures should be employed to encourage and ensure households take up low carbon heat, and how will these need to vary for different household types?
  7. What action is required to ensure that households are engaged, informed, supported and protected during the transition to low carbon heat, including measures to minimise disruption in homes and to maintain consumer choice?
  8. Where should responsibility lie for the governance, coordination and delivery of low carbon heating? What will these organisations need in order to deliver such responsibilities?