Waste heat is a huge wasted opportunity and the UK government must push Brussels harder to ensure it can be harnessed and supported.
That was a key message of a briefing held in London this morning on decarbonising heat at lowest cost.
The session heard from Association for Decentralised Energy chief Tim Rotheray, Ofgem RHI expert Keith Horgan, Nando’s head of energy Julie Allen, Sustain’s strategic development manager Chris Jennings and ICOM boss Ross Anderson.
Rotheray said that heat faced significant challenges around user-engagement, a siloed and often self-interested energy system and a poorly functioning policy framework.
One of the biggest missed opportunities in decarbonising heat, he said, was the exclusion of waste heat from the Renewable Energy Directive.
While the UK government “is pushing the EU for change, it is the only member state of 28 to be doing so,” he told delegates.
Nando’s Julie Allen agreed. She said the restaurant chain was harnessing the waste heat from gas ovens, achieving 4% savings on hot water heating as a result. However, she believed that more firms would look at heat reclamation if waste heat was included in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Sustain’s Chris Jennings said that one of the biggest missed opportunities in decarbonising heat was aligning procurement with operations and maintenance.
He also said that government was wrong to repeatedly refer to the UK’s 2,000 heat networks. He said the true figure, including smaller networks, was closer to 100,000, many of which were operating at system efficiencies of just 50%.
“The government doesn’t know the size of the prize,” he said, calling for the £300m the government has ring-fenced to develop new heat networks to be matched with funding for existing heat network infrastructure in order to improve system efficiency.
“Better operation and maintenance may be the most cost effective measure per tonne of carbon reduction,” he said.
The briefing was organised to launch a new free report on decarbonising heat at lowest cost. Based on a survey of Energyst readers, it includes insights on technology preferences, market barriers, and details how end-users, consultants, financiers and academics believe the UK energy system could be decarbonised at lowest cost.
Sponsored by Andrews Water Heaters, Potterton Commercial, Remeha & Senertec, you can download it here, free of charge.