by F. Harvey, Oct 8,2020 in TheGuardian
Ministers must come forward with stringent new plans for low-carbon heating, as targets to insulate homes and generate more power from offshore wind are inadequate and sales of gas boilers showed a record rise last year, energy experts warned.
At current rates, it will take 700 years for the UK to move to low-carbon heating, and at least 19,000 homes a week must be upgraded between now and 2050. There was a record rise last year of 1.8% in the number of new gas boilers installed, showing that the UK is going in the wrong direction.
Government plans will see only about 12,500 homes in total installed with low-carbon heat pumps, according to a report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
“We must move away from this situation where the government is sitting on its hands,” said Robert Gross, director of UKERC and co-author of the report.
The prime minister pledged this week that offshore wind would power and heat every home by 2030, with 40GW of turbines. But those plans are geared towards existing levels of electricity usage, UKERC experts pointed out. Demand for electricity is set to double as drivers switch to electric cars and as we cease to heat our homes with fossil fuels. According to one estimate, heating the UK’s homes alone would require 67GW of offshore wind power.
According to one estimate, heating the UK’s homes alone would require 67GW of offshore wind power.Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA