The ADE welcomes heat network consultation

The Association for Decentralised Energy has welcomed  the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s announcement of a consultation on a framework for heat network zoning.

The news follows ADE’s recent report Heat and Energy Efficiency Zoning: A framework for net zero for new and existing buildings, which laid out a vision and policy proposals for a wider zoning framework.

The government announcement included the following:

  • BEIS will consult on heat network zoning starting in Spring 2021
  • The consultation will explore how a zoning framework could encourage both new and existing developments to connect in designated heat network zones.
  • The consultation will then inform further policy developments to roll out heat network zones across the country, and explore the role local authorities and stakeholders will play

Caroline Bragg, Head of Policy at the ADE, said: “Zoning is a hallmark policy for the ADE and the announcement to consult on zoning for heat networks aligns really well with our vision of a local, efficient energy system that works for the consumer. This framework, if implemented correctly, will go a step further towards streamlining policy for heat decarbonisation and acknowledging that different solutions will be best suited towards different areas.

“It will, when considered alongside broader policy, create a positive landscape for investment in the heat networks sector, resulting in the creation of green jobs and the bolstering of supply chains.”

Charlotte Owen, Heat Policy Manager at the ADE, said: “We are delighted to see BEIS embrace the potential that zoning for heat networks offers. Heat networks will play a key role in a net zero energy system, providing up to 18% of the country’s heat demand by 2050.

“A clear zoning framework will help to enable local stakeholders to understand the most suitable pathway for decarbonising heat in their area and attract further investment into the sector through identifying area-specific opportunities. We look forward to working with BEIS and our members to shape the framework and ensure that wider opportunities for whole system optimisation such as energy efficiency and system flexibility are considered going forward.”

Related evidence commissioned by Vattenfall and Heat UK found that policy approaches which consider contextual differentiation, such as zoning, could reduce decarbonisation costs by up to £10bn.

The principle of zoning has also received buy-in from the Heat Network Industry Council Smart Liveable Cities lead.

Noah Nkonge, Head of Partnerships at Vattenfall Heat UK and Chair of the Smart Liveable Cities Heat Network Industry Council Working Group, said: “We are excited and wholeheartedly support BEIS’ decision to consult on a heat zoning framework.  When implemented well, zoning can remove uncertainty and create confidence for investors, for service providers, for suppliers and for the most important people, the customers.

“Success or failure in decarbonising heat in the UK by 2050 will depend on the actions and direction we take in the next five years.  We cannot afford to keep waiting and hoping that the market will deliver the scope and scale of change needed, instead we need strong leadership from government to back research and evidence and pick the right heat supply technologies for the right areas and buildings.”

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