Decentralised energy key to achieving UK’s net-zero target

The UK must replace its centralised energy infrastructure with smart, user-led systems in order to meet the Government’s recent legally binding net-zero carbon target, according to the Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE).

The organisation's new report claims that an “energy revolution” should see the UK move away from the traditional silos of gas and electricity and into an integrated system where power, heat and transport systems work together, designed around the user’s needs.

The ADE argues that energy efficiency could cut as much as £400 a year from households’ energy bills, while also slashing £6 billion from business energy bills between now and 2030.

Furthermore, the research highlights that ultra-low carbon onsite combined heat and power, which would capture otherwise wasted heat, could increase to 15 GW, the equivalent of more than 7 large power stations. In addition, the paper claims that £800 million of value to homes and businesses could be gained by the reduction of peak power demand; a market that could triple in size to match other leading nations

Dr Tim Rotheray, Director of the ADE believes consumers can be the driving force of change in the energy industry.

“Whether through onsite generation, storage, energy efficiency, capturing waste heat or smart vehicle charging, the next stage of the energy revolution centres on the energy user,” he said.

“From homes to industrial sites, we need to help energy users drive a dramatic change in our energy system. Those same users will benefit from lower bills, cleaner air and even a rebate on their power bill for helping the system.

“Facing the climate emergency is a challenge for everyone. Our analysis shows it can be an opportunity for everyone too.”

The ADE’s analysis suggests that recycling waste heat through heat networks will have a key role delivering clean, green cities heating 1.5 million homes by 2030, rising to 5 million by 2050.

Meanwhile, the report argues that widespread efficiency measures would deal with the UK’s leaky housing stock, slashing household energy bills by up to £400 a year, approximately a third off their current annual energy bills.

Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), states that local onsite generation and energy management will play a central role in delivering the UK’s net zero carbon future.

“Giving customers the power to help drive the UK’s low carbon transition is vital and we need credible UK policies, across government, that inspire a strong response from business, industry and society as a whole,” he said.

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