Electrification of heat: supporting low income and vulnerable households on their journey to Net Zero

NEA is thrilled to be working with EON and Newcastle City Council on the BEIS Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

The UK faces a huge challenge over the next decade: to exceed our ambitions set out in the UK Fuel Poverty strategy and achieve our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. If we can tackle fuel poverty and climate change together the impact across the country will be lifechanging for so many, ending the unnecessary suffering of millions of people currently unable to heat their homes affordably. This week the Chancellor announced an important and very welcome stimulus package for energy efficiency.  But we all know that is just a small part of the answer.

BEIS analysis suggests that to achieve net zero by 2050 we will need to decarbonise nearly all heat in buildings. That means an average of 20,000 properties every week for 20-25 years. The Future Homes Standard will phase out fossil fuel heating from new-build homes by 2025, but a huge number of existing homes currently heated by gas will need to move to alternative low carbon heating.

This is a monumental challenge for the sector and one that, if we do not get right, risks leaving the poorest households paying more, living in colder homes, and being left behind.

NEA knows from our extensive Technical Innovation Trials that clear and effective consumer engagement is vital as are bespoke retrofit solutions, tailored to both the home and the householder.

NEA will be working with our partners to ensure that residents receive an appropriate and complementary package of retrofit measures, and receive the best quality support to help understand their new heating systems, along with independent advice and support on their energy tariffs, income maximisation and bill management.

NEA has long since recognised the potential benefits of retrofitting heat pumps in homes which are off the gas grid however one reason why NEA is delighted to be working with EON and Newcastle City Council on this programme is the lack of evidence and insight on the effects of replacing gas heating with renewable systems. With 80% of UK homes currently heated by natural gas we must ensure that throughout the transition people can continue to heat their homes affordably. People will see significant and tangible changes to their everyday lives. There will be opportunities to grasp and risks to be anticipated and mitigated. This programme gives us a huge opportunity to understand more about the role of heat pumps and how we can more effectively engage consumers in low carbon heating alternatives.

It may not be news to say that there will be no one size fits all in the journey towards decarbonised heat; we need to do more to engage the wider population with what it will involve. NEA will continue to speak for the interests of fuel poor households to ensure their needs are always being heard during this significant period of change in our energy system.

If you’d like to find out more about NEA’s technical team and this or other projects, please contact technical@nea.org.uk or phone Michael Hamer, Technical Manager on 07720 591406.

Danni Barnes

Director of Operations (Skills, Standards and Delivery Mechanisms)

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