Targets to insulate homes and generate more power from offshore wind are inadequate and sales of gas boilers showed a record rise last year, energy experts warned.
At current rates, it will take 700 years for the UK to move to low-carbon heating, and at least 19,000 homes a week must be upgraded between now and 2050.
There was a record rise last year of 1.8% in the number of new gas boilers installed, showing that the UK is going in the wrong direction. No new homes should be built with gas boilers, the experts said. The government’s pledge to build millions of new homes does not specify that they must be built with low-carbon heating.
The prime minister pledged this week that offshore wind would power and heat every home by 2030, with 40GW of turbines. But those plans are geared towards existing levels of electricity usage, UK Energy Research Centre experts pointed out. Demand for electricity is set to double as drivers switch to electric cars and as we cease to heat our homes with fossil fuels. According to one estimate, heating the UK’s homes alone would require 67GW of offshore wind power.