Aspiring for more in 2019 – James Higgins, Partner, Ecuity

Article written by James Higgins, originally published in the February edition of  H&V News Magazine.

No doubt by the time of reading, your Christmas turkey dinner and New Year celebrations will be a distant memory. But however hazy the memories, I thought it would be worth looking back at some of the major policy developments in 2018 and casting an eye forward to what lies ahead in 2019.

Despite all the headlines, quite a lot of change occurred during 2018, thanks in no small part to the BEIS Clean Growth Strategy and also the work of devolved parliaments and regional representatives.

Highlights included:
1. The passing of Boiler Plus legislation which came into force in April 2018;
2. A Call for Evidence on the future of high-carbon fossil fuels in off-grid heating, which could lead to eventual phaseout of oil boilers;
3. The launch of a £320m Heat Networks Investment Project intended to start the journey towards up to one in five buildings having the option to connect to a heat network;
4. Conclusion of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety following the Grenfell Tower fire;
5. Research by BEIS to understand the potential of a range of low-carbon heating options, including Heat Pumps and a hydrogen grid;
6. Innovation grants allocated for the development of new hydrogen appliances through the Hy4Heat programme;
7. Recognition of the potential role for hot water storage in the smart grid, in the form of funding for demonstration projects through the BEIS Domestic Demand Side Response Programme;
8. Inclusion of smart thermostats within the Energy Company Obligation and a commitment to allow energy companies to spend up to 10 per cent of their obligation supporting innovation.

In 2018, the Government also committed to delivering its Buildings Mission to halve energy use of new buildings by 2030 and to a new Waste and Resources Strategy, setting out how the UK will preserve material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a ‘circular economy’ in England. Nations from around the world also met with some success at the COP24 climate talks in Poland to establish the technical rules that will allow the world community to accurately assess which nations are meeting the carbon reduction commitments they agreed to in Paris 3 years ago – and which are not.

It’s tempting to think that things have not changed or never will. However, I look back on 2018 as a year of some progress and one in which a huge amount of groundwork was undertaken with potential to change the way in which energy is provided to homes and businesses in the future.

Looking ahead to 2019, further change is guaranteed, regardless of the BREXIT headwinds, which dictate the fortunes of our politicians and dominate the news channels. We have already seen the formal introduction on 1st January of the Electricity and Gas Price Cap. Later this year we may well see a series of energy developments: a consultation on Part L of Building Regulations; improvements proposed for Energy Performance Certificates; and new interventions to promote energy efficiency in commercial buildings. We should also see detailed plans published towards the decarbonisation of off-grid heating and substantial developments in energy standards for new-build homes.

For more information please contact the author

See the original article from H&V here