The government announced today that it will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps, which reduce demand for gas, as a part of its energy strategy.
The strategy sets out measures to help the country “accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, whilst supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term – which could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon”.
The plan will also accelerate nuclear energy “with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050” to come from this source. The government has said this would represent “up to around 25% of our projected electricity demand”. Subject to technology readiness from the industry, Small Modular Reactors will form a key part of the nuclear project pipeline, it adds.
A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and the government will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month.
The government said it would also look to increase the UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity which could grow up to 5 times by 2035, consulting on the rules for solar projects, particularly on domestic and commercial rooftops.
It states it will aim to double its ambition to up to 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen and utilising excess offshore wind power to bring down costs. This will not only provide cleaner energy for vital British industries to move away from expensive fossil fuels but could also be used for cleaner power, transport and potentially heat.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.
“This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.”
However, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the progressive voice of more than 650 organisations working together for a more sustainable built environment, has responded to the lack of new energy-efficiency measures in the strategy.
Simon McWhirter, the UKGBC’s director of communications, policy & places, said: “Today was a chance to insulate the nation’s homes, protect us against future price hikes and tackle the painful effects of rising energy costs to households across the UK. This should have been the moment to show leadership and set out a comprehensive strategy to reduce energy demand. But despite the building industry standing ready to rise to the challenge, the government has woefully missed its opportunity.”
“In the week the world’s climate scientists named energy efficiency as one of the most significant lower-cost solutions to address the climate crisis, the prime minister hasn’t even got a plan to stop heat leaking out of the windows, walls and roofs of the UK’s 29 million homes.”