Heat Decarbonisation

Alongside electricity generation and transport, heating homes and businesses is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. We already have an established role in enabling renewable energy and electric vehicles, and decarbonising heat is our newest area of focus.

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The biggest test for Net Zero

Most properties in the UK – more than 85% – are supplied by natural gas for heating and cooking. Another four million homes are ‘off-gas grid’, meaning that residents burn oil or another carbon-intensive fossil fuel for cooking and heating. This produces even greater carbon emissions than on gas grid properties and is often more expensive than gas for bill payers.

Right now, lots of different ‘pathways’ for decarbonising heat are being explored. We know for certain electricity will play an important role and switching millions of customers to electric heating will drastically lower carbon emissions. However, doing so is a monumental technical, logistical and economic challenge. There are more properties in the UK to retrofit with low carbon heating than there are minutes between now and 2050.

We know from our engagement and research so far that a one size fits all solution won’t work. In 2020, we launched our Heat Strategy and are underway on several projects to facilitate heat decarbonisation in partnership with customers and stakeholders.

Our Role

Refine forecasts to inform policy

We’re generating granular data and developing evidence to inform heat related policy. We’re refining our forecasts, defining customer segments and analysing potential uptake scenarios.

Deliver great customer service

We’re engaging with heat stakeholders to review our customer journey and help educate consumers. We’re considering the needs of customers wishing to transition today and in the future, including those in vulnerable circumstances to ensure we leave no one behind.

Undertake least regret actions to ensure network readiness

We’re reviewing low carbon heat technologies, identifying gaps and developing a toolbox of innovative, cost efficient and least disruptive solutions that we can use to facilitate low carbon heating for our customers.

Our Heat Strategy served as open consultation for all stakeholders operating in the heat sector. We have collated a report to document the key feedback we received. Their feedback also told us to consider the specific needs of all customers and coordinate with the wider industry to raise awareness. That’s why we have co-developed “Heat Packs” with bespoke information for some of our key customer and stakeholder groups to support their transition to low carbon heat. For more detailed technical insight on low carbon heating, you can also view results from our ‘Heat Street’ research project.

We have recently refreshed our Heat Strategy to reflect the changing world and our findings over the last two years. You can find it here.
Executive Summary
Full Report
Data Pack 1: Heat and Energy Efficiency Uptake Scenarios
Data Pack 2: Building Stock
Data Pack 3: Consumer and Fuel Poverty impact
Data Pack 4: Analysis on emissions, low carbon heating uptake and consumer impact

Our Projects