Supply, demand and retrofit– how we overcame all three
03 March / 10.15-11.15
We successfully decarbonised our energy supply by 2035 and reached net zero by 2050.
In 2021 a YouGov poll indicated that two thirds of the British public supported a transition to 100% clean electricity and it was with their support we solved the critical issues of the supply of zero carbon energy, matched availability with demand and overcame the problem of excessive peak heat, a demand driven by the state of the UK’s poor building stock, that frequently increased energy use six-fold in the winter months.
In 2020 the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee launched an inquiry into ‘Decarbonising heat in homes’ – “Domestic heat accounts for 13% of the UK’s annual emissions footprint…less than 5% of the heat used across the UK’s 29 million homes is from low-carbon sources…It is expected that 20,000 homes will need to be upgraded every week between 2025 and 2050. At the current rate, it would take over 700 years to reach the 19 million heat pumps that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) suggests are needed.”
Our ‘energy transition’ also made much greater demands on renewable, decarbonised energy for other uses, including transport. We faced issues such as energy security and the balance between the UK and overseas suppliers. Yet, we did it and in far fewer than 700 years.
What did our transition plan look like? How did we reduce demand? We improved the energy performance of our existing buildings and especially our housing, and vastly exceeded the ambitions of the Government’s 2021 Heat and Buildings Strategy. We implemented the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Plan (part of its CO2nstructZero strategy) and then redoubled our efforts again and then again. We changed our own behaviour and overcame our reluctance to limit our demand, and both carbon rationing and carbon pricing had an important, but unexpected, part to play in our achievement.
This session will explore our journey.
Gillian Charlesworth, Chief Executive, Building Research Establishment (BRE)
How we decarbonised our energy supply and know how much energy we have
Tadj Oreszczyn, Professor of Energy and Environment at the UCL Energy Institute.
How we managed demand to match supply
Jannik Giesekam, Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Strathclyde
How we retrofitted our existing housing stock and the role of building renovation passports
Lynne Sullivan, Member of the Green Construction Board and Chair of the Good Homes Alliance (GHA)
How we got support from the consumer
Gillian Cooper, Head of Energy Policy, Citizens Advice