The largest renewables trade body in the UK has highlighted the conclusions of a new report by think tank Policy Connect on the supply of low carbon heat in the UK.
Both groups warn that much greater action is needed by the government to promote the decarbonisation of the heat sector. The report concludes that at present, the country is on track to fall short of its low carbon heat targets.
The Policy for Heat- Transforming the System report and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) have called for an extension of the government’s renewable heat incentive (RHI). This is identified as the best tool to support this transition.
Heating is one of three sectors that make up the UK’s binding commitment to decarbonise the energy industry by 2020. The target is for 12% of the UK’s heat to come from low-carbon or renewable sources.
If this is unmet, the other two sectors, transport and electricity must contribute more to meet the overall target.
Biomass is identified as the leading source of the UK’s renewable heat, although more must be done to encourage the development of other technologies, says the REA.
The current renewable heat incentive budget runs out in April 2016, and its future is expected to be announced in the government’s spending review (CSR) on 25 November.
Frank Aaskov, REA policy analyst, said: “Biomass is correctly identified here as not only the leading source of the UK’s renewable heat, but as a versatile and sustainable source of heat.
“It is widely available today and can deliver significant greenhouse-gas emission savings. Biomethane is also emerging as critical to decarbonising the gas grid..
“Heat-generation is central to our meeting our low carbon energy targets. There is strong potential for geothermal heating in the UK, as well as for biomethane and other technologies and the renewable heat incentive can easily be improved and extended to achieve this.”