Energy UK chief: UK should turn up the heat on large-scale electrification trials

Lawrence Slade told ELN decarbonising the heating sector is a ‘cast iron’ opportunity for the UK to set an example to the rest of the world

By Priyanka Shrestha
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The energy industry should work in partnership with government to kick-off large-scale trials to clean up the UK heating sector.

That’s the view of Energy UK Chief Executive Lawrence Slade, who believes while the power sector has done “an awful lot” in terms of decarbonisation, heat is one of the great challenges for the country as it is reliant on gas for heating.

Statistics from Ofgem suggest almost half of the final energy consumed in the UK is to provide heat – more than that used to produce electricity or for transport, with around 57% of this heat going towards meeting the space and water heating requirements for homes.

Most of that heat comes from burning natural gas – more than 70% across the domestic, industry and service sectors.

Speaking to ELN at the Energy UK annual conference, Mr Lawrence said electrifying and decarbonising the heating sector is a “cast iron” opportunity for the UK to set an example to the rest of the world “but several things need to happen”.

He added: “Certainly, industry need to be working in partnership with government, we need to acknowledge, the fact that there aren’t any silver bullets so there will be a variety of different solutions, different families, different property types, etc. But most importantly of all, we actually need to get going.

“We need to get some large-scale trials underway and out on the market so we can really see what the impacts are on people and on the carbon situation in the UK. You can only do that by getting trials underway and we’ve also got to be prepared to fail. Not everything we try is going to work so let’s get innovation underway, let’s get trials underway, let’s learn from those trials and try and do them in the most economically efficient way for families up and down the country.”

Speaking at the event, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry insisted bills have gone down since 2012 and the government’s energy price cap is “not some underground attempt to renationalise the energy sector”.

Ms Perry is the headline speaker at Energy Live Expo on 31st October in London. To book your place (free if you’re an end user), you can e-mail [email protected].

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