Is it decision time for off-grid heating?

Will 2023 go down in history as the year when the critical decisions relating to the future of off-gas grid heating were made?

Nick Hawkins OFTEC Chairman

It’s over a year since the BEIS consultation on phasing out the installation of fossil fuel heating systems off-the-gas grid and much has happened since then. However, at the time of writing, we haven’t had the Government’s response. Since the changes are proposed to come in from 2024-2026 there’s certainly no time to waste. Action on heating is urgently needed if we’re to stay on track to achieve net zero by 2050, because heat is a major contributor to the UK’s greenhouse emissions.

But any proposals must be fair, and these are anything but. Off grid homes and businesses are being forced to begin transitioning to renewables nine years earlier than those that use gas, and the penny has dropped with MPs who represent rural constituencies – this is not a vote winner! As you can read in our article on this page, there is now increasing support in Parliament for changes to the Government’s plans.

OFTEC and UKIFDA have been at the forefront of work to make the case for these changes. We don’t want to prevent progress from being made, but we think consumers need more choice, and the options need to be much cheaper too. HVO could tick both those boxes with some simple changes to an existing incentive scheme and duty that would cost the government nothing to implement.

The alternative is to go ahead as planned, imposing a one-size-fits-all solution before industry is ready and long before the cost of heat pumps is comparable with boilers, or to delay the transition. Neither option makes sense, and could put at risk the progress that is already being made. Let’s hope the Government sees sense and adjusts its plans accordingly.

Nick Hawkins

Chairman OFTEC