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Demonstrating the real world impact of electrifying heating over the next decade

Collaboration Project

CNZ x Advanced Infrastructure

We’re not talking enough about heating and its impact on the environment. In a survey commissioned by National Grid in 2020, just 5% of respondents thought that heating their homes was a major contributor to climate change. That’s in sharp contrast to the 89% of those surveyed who cited transport as a key area of environmental concern.

It’s insights like these that encouraged us to partner with Advanced Infrastructure during London Climate Action Week last year and take a data-driven look at how the capital can wean itself off fossil fuels through an increased adoption of heat pumps. We looked at how London heats its homes today, how the need for heating varies across London, the difference that heat pumps could make and what needs to happen to accommodate that change.

We focused our analysis on the coldest day of the year to date: 13th February 2021. On this one day of gas consumption, Londoners generated more than 74,000 tonnes of CO2. We then showed what electricity demand would look like in the same conditions in 2031, assuming heat pump adoption meets predicted rates. The result was a clear surge in electricity demand, with particular spikes in parts of London where heat pump uptake is likely to be high.  If peak electricity demand exceeds 20% of 2021 levels in these areas, we will need to find ways to manage that increase — by reducing it, being smarter about when we use energy or reinforcing the network.