Government expected to announce new target to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035

The Government is expected to announce a new target to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

For the heating, plumbing and renewables industry, the key areas of focus will be low-carbon heating including hydrogen and heat pumps, investment in distric heating, and the take up of electric vehicles.

Mark Wilkins, Director of Technologies and Training at Vaillant said:

“We welcome this bold and ambitious target from the UK Government. Climate change is a huge concern and we need to work together to ensure we strive to reduce our carbon emissions. In the UK we know that 31% of household emissions comes from central heating, so as a leading manufacturer of heating and hot water solutions, we need to take action now for a more sustainable future.

“It is crucial that the Government ensures the eagerly anticipated Heat and Buildings Strategy aligns with this new announcement in order to help us reach various other targets such as 600,000 heat pump units in 2028. We are already working with trade associations to develop new training courses, but we still need a way to encourage installers to upskill and increase the awareness amongst consumers. Moving towards this new target, there is now a real opportunity to introduce stable, longer term incentives and clearly defined communication channels to educate homeowners on low carbon solutions. We look forward to receiving further details on the 78% carbon emissions reduction and working with the Government and trade associations to help successfully deliver on this agenda.”

Jeff House, Head of External Affairs at Baxi Heating, commented:

“As a company at the forefront of low-carbon research and development, Baxi Heating welcomes news that the Government has taken on board the bold decarbonisation recommendations made by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

“This world-first commitment to adopt the emissions cut as advised by the CCC is a monumental pledge. To achieve a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035 compared to 1990 levels will rely on a successful energy transition. To help facilitate this, Baxi Heating has been investing in and developing a broad range of low-carbon solutions, including hydrogen boilers, heat pumps and heat networks components.

“While low-carbon technologies will help in this transition, there are still challenges. One of the biggest barriers to achieving the scale of ambition will be consumer acceptance. Baxi Heating believes that consumer engagement should start now, to help increase understanding of the need for low-carbon technology and the role it will inevitably play in meeting these goals. Change is inevitable, and we have to help people to understand that their heating systems and the way they use them will change – just as they will have to change the kind of car they drive.

“Furthermore, we must prioritise the upskilling of heating engineers to enable them to install new low-carbon heating and hot water solutions.

“The commitment demonstrated by the UK Government to be a world-leader in reducing emissions now needs to be backed up by future policy and investment. Most notably through further investment into hydrogen and other low-carbon heating technologies.

“In the lead up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), there are several important publications expected which will further shape how the UK will set out to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. This includes the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Heat and Buildings Strategy and a UK Hydrogen Strategy.

“We await these details and are committed to supporting this ambitious transition and the UK’s journey to net-zero. As part of our own sustainability pledge, all products manufactured from 2025 will work with low-carbon energy sources, and by 2030, the business will be net zero across its entire UK operations.”

ECA Energy & Emerging Technologies Solutions Advisor Luke Osborne commented:

“I am delighted to see government taking the climate crisis seriously and leading the world with these new targets. The inclusion of aviation and shipping is a welcome move.

“However, the clock is still ticking. We need more action to match the ambition. The electrotechnical and engineering services industry is better placed than most to deliver the green skills and technologies that will make these targets achievable. But around 70 per cent of specialist engineering services firms say they lack enough competent staff to undertake ‘low to no carbon’ work.

“We need a solid plan from government to give industry the confidence to develop robust training and invest in the skills needed to deliver these new targets. Otherwise, this latest announcement might be looked back on as empty rhetoric.

Electric vehicle charge point installation will be a key area of low-carbon industry activity. ECA recently responded to consultation from the government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) on how to improve ‘the EV driver experience’ at public charge points.

ECA advised OZEV that card payment capability should be mandatory for DC rapid and ultra-rapid chargers up to 350kW.

Commenting on the pending direction, George Webb, CEO  of Liquid Gas UK said:

“The ambitious new 2035 target should be welcomed as a signal of increased urgency to tackle climate change and deliver Net Zero. However, the UK Government must move away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach to rural areas.

“The quickest and easiest way to meet these targets is to open up policy and the market to a range of energy solutions that fit all circumstances and offer choice and value to consumers. There is no bigger challenge and example of this than decarbonising the heating systems across the UK, especially in homes off the gas grid. The boxed in approach of heat pumps for all is unaffordable for millions of homeowners and will only drive resistance to the Net Zero goal. The failure of the Green Homes Grant is proof that poorly run incentive schemes alone won’t get homeowners over the fresh hold to make the changes needed.

“Homeowners ultimately want choice and value for money, and a solution that meets their own personal needs within their home. Many homeowners will not want to retrofit their property, nor can many afford to. Heat Pumps alone are not the solution, rural homeowners need an alternative such as LPG and renewable bioLPG that reduce your carbon foot print if you’re one of the approximately 1.2m using high-carbon oil or coal today.”

Iain Bevan, Commercial Manager – Heating & Renewables at Daikin UK said:

15% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes as a result of oil and gas usage. If we’re to meet the government’s new 2035 target,  the task of decarbonising domestic heating is an urgent one.

“Heat pumps are a well-established technology that can be immediately and efficiently implemented across the UK to substantially reduce carbon emissions. And, because heat pumps are so efficient, they produce 45% fewer carbon emissions compared to a gas boiler, and 59% fewer than an oil boiler – a reduction of up to 43.5 tonnes of carbon emissions per home over the system’s lifetime.

“We must be mindful though that there is a significant job still to do in supporting professionals within the sector to meet the demands of scaling up the installation of renewable heating systems. For the heat pump market alone, we estimate around 17,000 new installers are required to meet the expected demand within the next ten years, so providing high quality training opportunities is essential.

“At Daikin we are already providing top quality training that is available for free as part of the Sustainable Home Network. This will play a significant role in developing a highly-skilled workforce that will be vital in supporting the government’s plans to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.”

Jonathan Maxwell, CEO of SDCL, the energy efficiency funder, said:

“The Prime Minister’s reported new carbon reduction target is a welcome increase in ambition. However, it will only be achieved if we embrace the potential of energy efficiency fully applied to our businesses and homes.  The cleanest energy is the energy we do not use. Using tried and tested technologies, energy efficiency is cheaper and more reliable than adding further generation to the grid. Two thirds of electricity generated is wasted – in transmission, distribution or generation itself – before it can be put to use.  Buildings use 40% of our energy.  Making them more efficient and generating energy where it is going to be used saves emissions and cuts bills.  So that’s a win-win.

“There’s a place for new renewable energy technologies – they’re certainly part of the solution.  But the low hanging energy efficiency fruit is ready to be picked.”