UK Renewable Heat Policy: Lessons from Renewable Electricity Policy
Connor, Peter M.
British Institute of Energy Economics
Introduction: Figures presented by the UK’s Department for Trade and Industry in 2007 suggest demand for heat energy accounts for almost half of all UK energy consumption, and for 79% of nontransport related energy consumption (DTI, 2007). This translates to around 47% of UK CO2 emissions, making heating a major contributor to the UK’s climate change emissions. Despite this, there has been little attention paid to the more sustainable supply of heat and on policy relating to renewable energy sources of heat (RES-H). Heat from renewables sources accounted for only 0.6% of UK heat demand in 2006 and this fraction has been in decline for over a decade (BERR, 2008a). Recently emerging discussion seems centred around the associated costs and contribution of a target in the range of 11-14% of total UK heat demand to be met by 2020 (BERR, 2008b; BERR, 2008c). The UK, in common with the large majority of other nations which have developed renewable energy policy, has tended to focus, often exclusively, on electrical generation. While there may be a number of explanations for this, a switch to more sustainable sources of heat offers many of the same advantages with regard to reduced environmental impact, increased security of supply and all he other benefits that go with renewable electrical generation. This paper considers the particular needs of RES-H technologies in terms of the policy instruments which might best suit their growth. It considers what lessons might be learned from the policy experience with renewable energy sources of electricity (RES-E) whilst also emphasising the key differences which have the potential to undermine the application of instruments from one category to the other. The diverse needs of different RES-H technologies are considered, with particular attention to the often conflicting nature of their requirements for support. Critical assessment of the problems of transferring mechanisms wholesale from employment in support of RES-E to efforts to support RES-H is carried out.
7th BIEE Academic Conference, Oxford, UK, 24-25 September 2008
7th BIEE Academic Conference in association with UK Energy Research Centre: The New Energy Challenge: Security and Sustainability A job for Governments, markets….or a ‘third way’?
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