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Next steps for low carbon heat in the UK - market frameworks, infrastructure, implementation and regulation

March 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will be an opportunity to examine strategy options and practicalities for fully integrating heat into the low-carbon transition.

Delegates will discuss the forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy, and the wider policy priorities for moving towards low carbon heat in the UK.

It takes place in the context of the UK Government’s legally-backed target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 - and with heat being one of the most challenging energy-intensive sectors to be decarbonised.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; the Cabinet Office; the CMA; the Crown Commercial Service; DIT; the Environment Agency; the Government Legal Department; the HSE; the NAO; the Geospatial Commission; the Department for the Economy NI; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.

The agenda

  • Policy for decarbonising the UK heat system - industry guidance, addressing built environment needs, and emerging low-carbon technologies
  • Heat and building strategy priorities for net-zero - retrofitting, standards, and the pathway to clean heat
  • Network infrastructure and overcoming delivery challenges - building skills and supply chains, business cases, integration with wider heat systems, and reducing engineering costs
  • Creating efficient market models for heat - competition, widening participation, and standardising frameworks and services
  • The way forward for regulation and protecting consumers - establishing codes and standards, transparency, and value for money

Key areas for discussion:

Policy and regulation

  • policy priorities:
    • the expected Heat and Buildings Strategy - assessing its provisions, as well as the recently published Energy White Paper, and outcomes of related consultation
    • further long-term policy - what is needed to progress heat and building decarbonisation
  • regulatory framework - and alignment with existing utility markets:
    • market design - standardising rules on entry and participation, setting market-based and dynamic heat tariffs, and supporting competition and closer alignment with power and gas markets
    • market rules - establishing a singular vehicle for market stewardship and disputes, enforcement powers for stakeholders, and reducing ambiguity around market and consumer rules
    • consumer protection - regulating for developer, supplier and property transparency, guarantees for quality of service, and achieving fair pricing for heat network users


  • heat in the wider net-zero energy system - the way forward for:
    • readily usable guidance for both property builders and operators
    • integration with other forms of energy technologies and systems
    • closer engagement with local authorities and wider spatial planners
  • built environment decarbonisation:
    • improving energy efficiency identification at a regional level
    • scaling up private and publicly-led retrofitting across the UK
    • bridging the gap between new and old housing stock for efficiency
  • alternative low-carbon heat technology:
    • next steps - for commercialising housing-ready equipment such as heat pumps and energy efficiency materials
    • opportunities for collaboration - working with industry to reduce costs and enhance residential adoption


  • project delivery - strategies for:
    • developing industry collaboration on supply chain development
    • commercialising technologies and construction methods
    • establishing replicable best practice to support the building of new installations
  • implementation challenges:
    • deployment in rural, residential and urban dwellings
    • reducing installation time and complexity
    • approaches to lowering the lifetime costs of projects
  • coordination:
    • ways to increase cooperation between heat network developers, heat suppliers and network operators
    • tackling integration challenges for heat system connection to the gas and heat grid
  • skills and capacity - next steps for:
    • developing sector skills as part of expanding deployment, and expanding UK training and career choices
    • scaling up project and business capacity, and local and regional capability in scheme delivery

The policy background:

  • the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - including the PM’s aims to heat the first town entirely from hydrogen by 2030, and provide greener, more efficient heating solutions for homes
  • the Energy White Paper:
    • outlining a route for developing the entire energy system up to 2050
    • including the role of heat and building decarbonisation, both identified as central to the nation’s green and net-zero agenda
  • Heat and Buildings Strategy - expected early this year, with policy and technological options for low-carbon heating and building retrofit
  • the Future Homes Standard - and its set of regulatory obligations intended for law by 2025, including:
    • the setting of new and more rigorous energy efficiency standards
    • a ban on gas boilers for new build properties
    • stronger measures for deploying low-carbon heating systems with housing developers
  • the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) - the funding programme for heat network development, identifying construction hurdles, and establishing conditions for sustained market growth
  • the BEIS Heat Investment Vehicle (BHIVE) - supporting funding for public sector heat network owners and developers across England and Wales
  • consultations on the future of heat, infrastructure and energy sources:
    • Designing the Green Heat Network Fund: call for evidence - intended to outline practical steps for lowering project design barriers and coupling clean heat into heat systems and strategies
    • Future support for low carbon heat - consultation on options for electric and thermal low-carbon heat technologies, and possible routes for biomethane injection into the heat grid
    • Heat networks: building a market framework:
      • priorities for market frameworks and regulation - including consumer care and protection, the creation of a regulator, and clear statutory rights and responsibilities for developers, suppliers and building operators
      • Ofgem response to government’s heat networks: building a market framework consultation - recommending itself as regulator
    • Clean Heat Grant: Further Policy Design Proposals - consultation on aspects of the proposed Clean Heat Grant, such as minimum installation requirements, hard to treat buildings, voucher application processes and new-build eligibility

Policy officials attending:

Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, and officials from BEIS; the Cabinet Office; the Competition and Markets Authority; the Crown Commercial Service; Department for International Trade; the Environment Agency; the Government Legal Department; the Health and Safety Executive; the National Audit Office; the Geospatial Commission; the Department for the Economy NI; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government. Also due to attend are representatives from AFRY Management Consulting; Air Products; Bain & Company; Baringa; Burges Salmon; Christian Concern for One World; DC2 Engineering; DEFA, Isle of Man Govenrment; Element Energy; Energy Systems Catapult; Eneteq Services; EuroSite Power; Gemserv; GeoScience; Heal Rewilding; Imperial College London; Innovate UK; Institution of Mechanical Engineers; London Borough of Sutton; Max Fordham; MHA MacIntyre Hudson; Mitie; RSK Group; Secure Meters UK; Sharpe Pritchard; Solid Energy; Sovereign Housing Association; Sustainable Energy; UKIFDA; Vital Energi; Wheelabrator Technologies; Wilmott Dixon and WJ Groundwater.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from ICIS and Montel News.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles