More reaction to Sixth Carbon Budget

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has annouced the Sixth Carbon Budget (2033-2037), charting the move to zero carbon for the UK.

The budget looks at a central phase out date of 2028 for high-carbon fossil fuel boilers not connected to the gas grid, and a phase out date of 2033
for gas boilers in homes (not including hydrogen boilers).

Viessmann welcomes Sixth Carbon Budget but calls for more focus on improving gas heating efficiency:

“Viessmann welcomes today’s publication of the 6th carbon budget by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). We commend the ambition to reduce emissions in buildings to zero by 2050 in line with net zero legislation. The CCC report rightly notes that emissions reductions from heating have flatlined since 2015 and much further needs to be done to promote low carbon heating and efficiency investment in the 2020s.

“We commend the ambition to reduce emissions in buildings to zero by 2050 in line with net zero legislation. The CCC report rightly notes that emissions reductions from heating have flatlined since 2015 and much further needs to be done to promote low carbon heating and efficiency investment in the 2020s.

“We are particularly encouraged by the proposed mixed approach to decarbonising heat, under the balanced net zero pathway scenario set out in the CCC. If achieved, this would lead to the scaling up of the heat pump market to deliver 1 million installations by 2030, the expansion of heat networks and extended trials to test the viability of hydrogen for heat. This, accompanied by the proposed accelerated deployment of no-regret measures such as energy efficiency (over 1 million insulation measures proposed per year by 2025) can lead to a 34% reduction of emissions from heating by 2030. These objectives are entirely feasible and in line with Viessmann’s vision on heating decarbonisation in the UK which we have consistently advocated since 2015.

“An area where the excellent CCC analysis could go further is in considering fully the opportunity to take gas heating efficiency further. Rather than focusing on mandating hydrogen ready boilers – a solution which although straightforward to produce will not generate efficiency or carbon gains in the absence of mass hydrogen supply – it is important to evaluate properly and not overlook technology that allows cost-effective use of gas (transitioning to hydrogen eventually) such as gas CHP for district heating and fuel cells for residential heating, which generate electricity locally to power heat pumps and EVs.”

Malcolm Farrow, Head of Public Affairs at OFTEC, comments:

“OFTEC welcomes the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Sixth Carbon Budget report which clearly sets out the scale of the UK’s challenge to reach net zero, particularly in heating.

“We also welcome the inclusion of biokerosene within the range of low carbon heating options endorsed for off-gas grid homes in the road map.

“OFTEC believes that if backed by the right policy support, the use of renewable liquid fuels could enable the CCC’s ambition to end the installation of new fossil fuel oil boilers in rural homes by 2028 to be achieved even sooner. 

“The rapid deployment of a renewable liquid fuel, namely Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), would meet the CCC’s requirements to quickly gain ground on emissions cutting. This near drop-in replacement for heating oil offers a carbon reduction of approximately 91% which is significantly greater than heat pumps can achieve until the electricity grid is more fully decarbonised later in the 2030s.

“Existing oil heated households could switch to an HVO solution at a fraction of the cost of installing other low carbon technologies. Household disruption is also minimal, making this a ‘frictionless’ option that overcomes two of the main barriers to heat decarbonisation that currently exist.

“An HVO solution also allows more resource to be channelled into the energy efficiency improvements the CCC has identified as a priority.

“The CCC estimates the average cost per home to upgrade to target Band C is less than £10,000. However, most oil heated homes will require more extensive upgrades. BEIS research suggests the average cost for Band E homes to achieve this level is £12,300 and for Bands F and G, £18,900. For some these costs will be far, far higher and it should be noted that these figures don’t include the cost of the replacement heating system.

“The overriding challenge for government now is to develop policies that are fair, affordable and effective – a point emphasised by the CCC. For off-gas grid homes this is a critical requirement and HVO must be included among the technologies supported to achieve this transition. OFTEC remains committed to supporting this option and industry is now just waiting for the signal from government to start delivering an HVO solution.”

Comment from Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical for REHAU Building Solutions:

“The clouds are starting to part as we near the end of 2020 for many reasons, not least because of today’s announcement relating to the sixth carbon budget from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – particularly section two of the report, relating to buildings.

“REHAU most welcomes the specific focus on scaling up the market for heat pumps as a critical technology for decarbonising space heating, while maintaining quality. Additionally, expanding the rollout of low-carbon heat networks in heat dense areas like cities, using anchor loads such as hospitals and schools, is news to be celebrated.

“The roadmap of recommended dates demonstrate we need to move at pace. For example, all new build homes to have a heat pump or low carbon heat network and all new district heat connections to be low carbon by 2025. Heat pump sales must then be reaching 1m by 2030 with 5.5m heat pumps installed.

“We know these are viable technologies, but to see this advocated in black and white within the CCC’s official recommendations is exactly the sort of clarity we need. This follows the Government announcing its specific aim to install 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028 last month, which was also a very encouraging sign.

“It is clear that the public and industry are behind moving towards zero carbon but there needs to be increased public awareness of how this can be achieved. One of the major challenges lies around skills, as the existing workforce may not possess all the skills necessary for operating low-carbon and low-flow temperature installations. It’s key that the Government now address these policy gaps and review what incentives may be needed to meet their green targets.

“Both sustainability and knowledge-sharing are driving forces within REHAU’s own strategy, which is why we back these initiatives whole-heartedly. Our continuing professional development (CPD) programme has been a huge focus throughout this turbulent year, and is being revamped and expanded for 2021 with renewable technologies remaining at its heart. We believe this guidance is invaluable to the educational process. 

“In summary, there can be little doubt that ambitious targets like net zero challenge industry to do more, and this report really does help visualise the practical steps to be taken.”

The CCC believes The Sixth Carbon Budget can be met through four key steps:

  1. Take up of low-carbon solutions. People and businesses will choose to adopt low-carbon solutions, as high carbon options are progressively phased out. By the early 2030s all new cars and vans and all boiler replacements in homes and other buildings are low-carbon – largely electric. By 2040 all new trucks are low-carbon. UK industry shifts to using renewable electricity or hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, or captures its carbon emissions, storing them safely under the sea.
  2. Expansion of low-carbon energy supplies. UK electricity production is zero carbon by 2035. Offshore wind becomes the backbone of the whole UK energy system, growing from the Prime Minister’s promised 40GW in 2030 to 100GW or more by 2050. New uses for this clean electricity are found in transport, heating and industry, pushing up electricity demand by a half over the next 15 years, and doubling or even trebling demand by 2050. Low-carbon hydrogen scales-up to be almost as large, in 2050, as electricity production is today. Hydrogen is used as a shipping and transport fuel and in industry, and potentially in some buildings, as a replacement for natural gas for heating.
  3. Reducing demand for carbon-intensive activities. The UK wastes fewer resources and reduces its reliance on high-carbon goods. Buildings lose less energy through a national programme to improve insulation across the UK. Diets change, reducing our consumption of high-carbon meat and dairy products by 20% by 2030, with further reductions in later years. There are fewer car miles travelled and demand for flights grows more slowly. These changes bring striking positive benefits for health and well-being.
  4. Land and greenhouse gas removals. There is a transformation in agriculture and the use of farmland while maintaining the same levels of food per head produced today. By 2035, 460,000 hectares of new mixed woodland are planted to remove CO2 and deliver wider environmental benefits. 260,000 hectares of farmland shifts to producing energy crops. Woodland rises from 13% of UK land today to 15% by 2035 and 18% by 2050. Peatlands are widely restored and managed sustainably.

Phasing out of gas and oil boilers

Given boiler lifetimes of around 15 years, the CCC looked at phasing out the
installation of fossil fuel boilers, in advance of 2035. It adopted a central date of 2033 for gas boilers across buildings, with public buildings moving faster:

  • For homes, a central phase out date of 2028 for high-carbon fossil
    fuel boilers not connected to the gas grid, and a phase out date of 2033
    for gas boilers.
  • The key date of 2033 balances the need to scale up heat pump supply
    chains sustainably, while allowing for a small amount of headroom over a typical 15-year boiler stock turnover before 2050.
  • In non-residential buildings, 2025 for high-carbon fossil fuel boilers in
    public buildings and 2026 in commercial buildings, based on the feasibility and benefits of moving faster. The CCC uses phase out dates for gas boilers of 2033 in commercial buildings and 2030 in public buildings in the Balanced pathway. The faster pace in public buildings allows the Government to meet its targeted 50% reduction in emissions by 2032.
  • These dates operate alongside the deployment of low-carbon heat
    networks and a regional rollout of hydrogen conversion of the gas grid, informed by industry scenarios. This means that the phase-out does not apply in any areas designated for these alternatives.

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