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Government unveils plans for net-zero carbon heating sector

Government unveils plans for net-zero carbon heating sector

25 Mar 09:00 by Jason Thornhill

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The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures in his March budget aimed at transforming the heating sector and moving the UK towards being carbon free by 2050.

Although the main focus of the budget was geared at supporting the economy through the Covid-19 outbreak, there was a good deal of material relating to the decarbonisation of buildings.

Among them were support packages for carbon capture technologies and funding for greener gas, along with a clear message that the government wants to achieve its decarbonisation goals through electrification, heat pump adoption and green gas alternatives such as hydrogen.

Mr Sunak said: “To meet this challenge, the Budget accelerates the greening of the gas grid by announcing a new support scheme for biomethane, funded by a Green Gas Levy.”

“The government will also support the installation of heat pumps and biomass boilers by introducing a Low Carbon Heat Support Scheme.”

The budget set out a number of key funding commitments relevant to the heating industry including:

  • £96m for the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), between now and 31 March 2022.
  • £270m for its successor, a new heat network support programme.
  • £100m (on completion of a consultation process) for a new heat pump and biomass boiler grant scheme in 2022 for households and SMEs. 
  • An extension of domestic RHI support until March 2022.
  • Flexible tariff guarantees for non-domestic RHI to support larger heat projects from March next year (2021).
  • Doubling of finance for the UK’s existing Energy Innovation Programme.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) chief executive Julie Hirigoyen welcomed funding to improve climate resilience and biodiversity and an extension of the Climate Change Agreement scheme, which incentivises energy intensive businesses to improve their energy efficiency.