Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Taking Heat from Emissions; Environment SOMETHING Hot Is about to Erupt in the UK's Energy Market

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Taking Heat from Emissions; Environment SOMETHING Hot Is about to Erupt in the UK's Energy Market

Article excerpt

Byline: KELLEY PRICE

GOVERNMENT plans to turn heat into a traded commodity, similar to gas and electricity, could change the UK's energy landscape, from the way fuel is produced to the household bills that drop on to our doormats.

Heat is a large sector - responsible for almost half of the UK's CO2 emissions. So given the UK's ambitious targets to reduce them by 80% by 2050, it's little wonder the Government wants to address the problem.

Teesside's industrial sector has been selling its waste heat for years, but logistical difficulties - heat cannot be transported that easily - and a lack of national policy have stopped it becoming more widespread.

For the first time, the Government wants to introduce a national feed-in tariff for heat which, in basic terms, means producers using renewable systems that generate heat as a by-product will get paid for doing so.

A Heat Energy Saving Strategy, due to emerge from the Department for Environment and Energy in the coming weeks, will reveal how the plan will work.

But how far down the supply chain will the effects be felt? Will the biggest changes - and incentives - be seen by the fuel producers or the consumer? And how will heat use be measured?

Biofuels consultant Ian Waller, of Tees Valley-based Five Bar Gate, sits on one of the advisory groups that are helping the Government answer these questions.

He believes turning heat into a commodity would spark huge potential for biofuels producers, particularly in the Tees Valley, which could supply to surrounding off-gas areas in rural areas, including North Yorkshire and the Dales.

"The intention is that, if you use a fuel with a big environmental impact, then you could pay more for it. This will, in effect, create a market for cleaner fuels - a stimulus to drive users to lower greenhouse gases.

"It's not clear yet how this will work, the devil is in the detail. The Government needs to work out how the feed-in tariff will apply to a range of fuel sources, from LPG to fossil fuels, wood pellets, biofuels and biogas. …

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