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A wind turbine in cloudy Wales.
Energy explained

Our views on the government's Heat and Buildings and Net Zero strategies

The government published two important strategies this week ahead of COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow this November. Here are some of the plans we’re particularly excited about at Bulb.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy and the Net Zero strategy set out how the government plans to decarbonise buildings and the economy by 2050. The plans cover renewable electricity generation, electric vehicles and how you might heat your home in the future.

Annual targets to green up our transport system

The government will set annual targets to help make our transport system greener. From 2024, car manufacturers will need to produce more EVs every year. From 2030, no new petrol and diesel cars will be sold in the UK and from 2035, all new cars and vans will be zero emission vehicles. The government will invest £620m in electric vehicles and infrastructure, like charging points to help people switch to electric cars more easily. 

At Bulb we’re making it simpler to own an EV with technology to help our members charge at home. So it’s great to see more funding to help more people switch to electric.

Illustration of an electric car.

More investment in offshore wind

The government has committed that all electricity will come from low-carbon sources by 2035. And it’s great to see a further £380m investment in offshore wind. This will help to increase the proportion of renewable energy on the grid (hitting a whopping 40GW of offshore wind power by 2030). This means that we can phase out our reliance on fossil fuels and power homes and businesses with cleaner energy. At Bulb, 78% of the electricity we supply comes from wind, so we’re excited that more people will benefit from cheaper, greener energy in future. 

Wind farms in distance.
More offshore wind means more people can benefit from cheaper, greener energy.

Bye bye boilers 

The government also said it will phase out new gas boilers by 2035. We’re excited by this ambition, which is the first of its kind in the world. The government wants to encourage more people to heat their home using heat pumps, while letting boilers that are already installed live out their natural lives. This is essential if net zero is going to be fair and affordable for everyone.

Hooray for heat pumps 

The government has committed £3.9 billion to decarbonise buildings. From April 2022, you’ll be able to apply for a cash grant of up to £6000 to replace your gas boiler with a heat pump. 

And the government will work with industry to drive down the costs of heat pumps through innovation and training, making them the same price (or cheaper) than gas boilers. This is a great start, but more funding will be needed in future to electrify the way we heat our homes.

Illustration of a Bulb member looking proud of their heat pump.

Helping heat pumps along

Heat pumps work best in energy efficient homes and businesses. At the moment, lots of homes in the UK are poorly insulated. We’d like to see more government guidance on how it’ll help insulate Britain’s draughty homes, with a replacement for the Green Homes Grant, or by scrapping VAT on green products and home insulation. 

The government also shared plans to make it cheaper to run a heat pump, by gradually removing policy costs from electricity bills and putting them onto gas bills instead. Currently, cheaper, cleaner electricity is more expensive than polluting gas. We’ve called for the government to remove these costs from electricity bills. But any transition needs to be fair and affordable for consumers. The government has said they’ll consult on the plans next year and we look forward to taking part in the conversation.

More research into hydrogen 

The government has said there needs to be more research into using hydrogen for home heating before making any commitments. We think that’s a good thing. While hydrogen is good for heavy industry, aviation and shipping, we think there needs to be more research into whether it can be used to heat homes and offices. 

Are you considering the switch to an electric car or a heat pump at home? What are your hopes for COP26? Join in the conversation or let us know what you think about these new government strategies over in the Bulb community.