Energy and Environment

If it ain’t broke, don’t break it

Andy Mayer writes in The Telegraph

IEA Chief Operating Officer and Energy Analyst Andy Mayer has written in The Telegraph arguing that “Replacing things that work with things that don’t is no way to decarbonise a country”.

Andy wrote:

“Our current heating system, rooted in a gas grid that supplies 85% of domestic properties, works well. We are a chilly country where we are typically more likely to die from the cold than the heat, and this is unlikely to change substantially even with 2-3oC of global warming by 2100. Our ability to affordably heat homes has helped us live longer, happier lives.  

“Now the government wants us to switch to heat pumps, which do the same job as a gas boiler at a much higher cost. Their installation charges range from £7,000 to £35,000, their electricity-based running costs have typically been higher, and they are not appropriate for a range of older properties with poor insulation. They run at lower temperatures, requiring larger radiators, and their ability to do so efficiently falls in winter just when they are needed most.

“Our politicians should learn from this. Decarbonisation fundamentally is an economic choice, not a planet-saving moral quest. It is right to nudge the market through consistent competitive carbon pricing that encourages better choices, targeting the cheapest options first. It is not right to try to micromanage every market through deployment targets, regardless of cost.”

Read Andy’s full article here.