Scaling the technologies available today
We must avoid a ‘wait-and-see’ mindset when it comes to technology. This may not be a one-horse race, but that should not prevent Scotland backing the likely winners – such as smart electric heating – with conviction today. Over the next ten years, there is a huge opportunity around implementing existing low-carbon heating options – particularly energy efficiency upgrades and electrification of heat. By starting with new homes and off-gas grid properties we can quickly learn best practices to be replicated across the on-gas grid housing stock.
Clean solutions remain too expensive and incentives to help overcome the upfront cost differential between heat pumps and fossil fuel systems – grants, scrappage schemes, cashback programmes – would all help level the playing field. We must also encourage local authorities to develop their own heating strategies, involving their communities based on their context and resources, providing better market visibility to those involved in the heat value chain.
The need for clear signposting and policy certainty
Most Scottish homes will need to change in order to meet national decarbonisation targets. To achieve this, most people, like Pam, need to be more aware of their options and have easy access to all the information and guidance they need. Consumers need to be financially supported in their transition and to be rewarded for making the switch as well as enjoying a warm home.
This requires all industry players, smart technology solution providers, device manufacturers, installers, energy retailers, lenders, to work together to develop attractive product offerings that solve these challenges. Comprehensive policy packages that send clear, long-term signals to the market and bring forward accessible, smart and cost-effective solutions will be key.
The Scottish government is due to publish its Heat in Buildings Strategy by the end of the year. We look forward to hearing about the specifics of the strategy and getting on with the challenge!
With thanks to Iain Duncan (OVO Energy) and Katie Milne (OVO Group) and Marzia Zafar (Kaluza) for assistance in writing this blog.
(3) Energy Systems Catapult research presented during the 9th of November workshop