Best practice in heat decarbonisation policy

16 May 2016

A review of the international experience of policies to promote the uptake of low-carbon heat supply

During 2015 the Technology and Policy Assessment team consulted widely over prospective topics for future TPA reviews. This process indicated that a rapid assessment of the available evidence on best practice in international policies aimed at deploying low carbon heat technology in order to draw lessons for UK policy on heat decarbonisation, would be both timely and relevant to UK policy.

Low-carbon heat options often involve financial and non-financial barriers to their uptake. Effective policies are likely to be ones that address or recognise the relevant barriers and are designed to overcome them. These barriers include the issues associated with the infrastructural transitions that are required – such as installing district heating, replacing natural gas boilers or the roll out of heat pumps which may require electricity distribution network upgrades.

This project sets out to evaluate the relative effectiveness of different policy approaches to support heat supply or infrastructure transitions internationally. The research seeks to identify lessons from the international policy experience and assess how relevant these policy lessons might be to the UK context for achieving radical decarbonisation of heat.

The main aim of the research is to conduct a rapid evidence assessment of international experience of policies and policy packages aimed at boosting take-up of low-carbon heat technology. This will start from the international experience with heat system change and also include policies from the UK and the Devolved Administrations. The key question that this TPA project therefore asks is:

What policies and other factors have driven change/transformation in heat delivery technologies, fuels and infrastructure?

Key Contact: Richard Hanna