The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) is calling on the next government to make the big decisions required for decarbonisation and to put consumers front and centre of future policy, ahead of next month’s general election.
EUA chief executive Mike Foster says: “Decarbonisation is high on the political agenda, and rightly so. But for the UK to meet the 2050 net-zero targets, the incoming government must consider the consumer journey to decarbonisation.
“Consumers should be front and centre of future policy, and the government – together with industry – have a duty to consider what they really want and if it can be delivered. Take a look at the heat sector, for example: when it comes to heat, gas is the UK’s fuel of choice, and for good reason. The gas grid currently delivers gas into the homes over 85 per cent of the UK population, which is achieved through a first-class distribution network developed over many years.
“Heat demand is seasonal (no surprise there) but its peaks during the winter need to be met by supply or people will go cold. The latter is no policy prescription that any sensible politician advocates. Having the energy, in whatever shape, available at short notice to meet peak demand – while not having supply sitting idle for much of the year – has to be the energy outcome of choice.
“The EUA believes that the only sensible, cost effective and deliverable solution to decarbonising the hard-to-tackle heat sector is by using clean gases such as hydrogen. The gas infrastructure is already in place for nearly 9 out of 10 homes. It can deliver secure and affordable heat while providing the carbon reductions we need to make without any major disruption or unrealistic cost implications.
“The UK must also step up the discussion on fuel poverty at a national level, in order to drive change. Government has the power to make fuel poverty history by making it a norm that no one should ever go cold in their home. This will require significant changes to legislation, investment and the promotion of the right to live in a warm home.”
Any future government should focus on five priority areas to achieve decarbonisation, says the EUA:
• A new infrastructure
• Ambitious heat policy
• Stronger action on transport emissions
• Making fuel poverty history
• Building better homes and enforcing standards.