The next phase of decarbonisation in the UK will likely have two characteristics: it will need to be much more consumer-friendly, and it will need to be much more sensitive to local contexts. We have made tremendous progress in electricity decarbonisation over the past 10 years, but those changes have been essentially hidden from people; when I go home and turn the lights on, they still come on. From a consumer experience point of view, it doesn’t really matter if the electrons come from a coal-fired power station or from a wind turbine. Any additional cost in the unit price of electricity to pay for innovation in renewables has been largely offset by more efficient products, such as LED lightbulbs. Heating and transport decarbonisation, the next two big chunks of emissions, are not like that. Owning and running an electric vehicle is a different experience from running a car with an internal combustion engine. And low carbon heating systems, in particular heat pumps, provide a very different heating experience from that of condensing boilers, which many of us are very used to. Coming up with consumer offers that people actually desire is essential to meet the speed of transition required for Net Zero.
Energy Systems Catapult 11th Feb 2021 read more »