The Lords have discussed the government’s plans to replace gas boilers and heaters in all homes in the UK as part of the net zero transition, as well as the potential role of hydrogen.
Responding to an oral question on 12 January, Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for BEIS, said it was too soon to estimate costs accurately of replacing gas boilers and heaters in all homes in the UK. This is due to different pathways to decarbonise heat still being under development. However, a call for evidence on affordability and fairness will be published in April, with Callanan assuring it is a priority for government.
When asked what consideration the government has given to using contracts for difference to drive down costs and encourage innovation in producing green hydrogen, Callanan confirmed the government is committed to consulting on the preferred hydrogen business model in the second quarter of 2021. A final decision will be made next year. Further details on the revenue mechanisms to support the proposed business models were also confirmed as being brought forward this year.
Callanan further noted the government is supporting the development of prototype hydrogen-ready boilers through the Hy4Heat programme, which is set to conclude at the end of this year. Based on those findings, the government will launch a consultation, seeking views from stakeholders on the role hydrogen-ready appliances can play in the transition to net zero.
On ground source heat pumps and how realistic they are as a green energy solution – in terms of construction and cost – Callanan said they are an option, as are air source heat pumps and hydrogen. Domestic retrofit of community energy systems will also play a role, with Callanan acknowledging the need for use of a number of different technologies in the transition.