The Ofgem chief has expressed concerns over the decarbonisation of heat, warning there could be a backlash from consumers if they are forced to adopt new technologies such as hydrogen boilers. Speaking at the annual spring forum of Aurora Energy Research, chief executive of the energy regulator Dermot Nolan said he is relatively “sanguine” about the decarbonisation of power and transport but admitted he is “far more nervous about the issue of heat”. Nolan noted there are two main options for decarbonising heat – either electrification or converting gas networks to run on low-carbon hydrogen. He said a hydrogen grid “would be great” but has not been demonstrated at scale and would require “huge” regulatory changes. He was recently shown a hydrogen boiler and was “quite impressed”. But given the “reluctance” some people have shown to welcome smart meters into their homes, Nolan worried that consumers would “react” badly if they are compelled to install a new type of heating system. At the same time, the electrification of heat would mean abandoning £40 billion of existing gas infrastructure.
Utility Week 20th March 2019 read more »