In March, the UK government released its revised energy strategy, Powering Up Britain. The revision was in response to the 2022 High Court ruling that the previous plan did not provide enough detail. The strategy now outlines key areas of activity for the government in progressing towards net zero. Key points include:
- launching the Great British Insulation Scheme, which will see up to 300,000 homes become more energy efficient
- phasing out of new and replacement gas boilers by 2035
- the continuation of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and £30m towards boosting the manufacturing of heat pumps; and
- significant investment in carbon capture and nuclear technologies, as well as offshore wind farm infrastructure.
RICS commented that it showed a disappointing lack of funding and ambition. “With an estimated 15 million homes needing a form of energy efficiency improvement work, the insulation policy targeting 300,000 homes falls well short. Powering Up Britain contained little in the way of incentives for the majority of consumers and businesses to create low-carbon, energy-efficient properties.”
BRE’s Gillian Charlesworth echoed the sentiment, saying that these were positive steps towards the net-zero goal, but they lacked urgency about the scale of the challenge.
While Costain welcomed the government’s plan to diversify and decarbonise domestic energy production by investing in renewables, carbon capture and nuclear, Ashden’s Cara Jenkinson noted that it simply furthered oil and gas exploration and committed £20bn to technologies such as carbon capture and storage, which are unproven at scale. “£20bn could retrofit millions of homes and provide the government and society with huge quick wins – tackling the energy, climate and cost-of-living crises at the same time. Unfortunately, the expected £1bn for the ECO+ scheme – unconvincingly branded the Great British Insulation Scheme and already announced in November – is all padding and no substance.
“The government has also missed a big economic opportunity to create 200,000 new jobs to make our homes more energy efficient. We welcome the proposed measures to boost the roll-out of heat pumps, but unless we insulate first, many people will be left with high energy bills – a crucial detail that has been ignored.”