International experience of innovation policies to transition to low carbon heating



This project has undertaken a review of the evidence on innovation policy supporting low carbon heating transitions in different European countries, and sets out to understand how relevant these policy lessons might be for achieving radical decarbonisation of heat. Internationally there is a diverse mix of heating technologies and fuels, and some countries make little or no use of natural gas heating.

Decarbonization of space and water heating is a formidable challenge in countries such as the UK and Netherlands where natural gas dominates the provision of heating in buildings. These countries can learn from innovation polices adopted in Sweden and Denmark, which have dramatically reduced their use of fossil fuels in heating, through a transition to district heating, heat pumps and renewable fuels. Insights can also be drawn from countries such as Austria, France and Germany, which have a mixed heating portfolio of fossil fuels, district heating, electric heating and renewable heat. In these countries we attempt to identify various sources of increasing returns to adoption which have promoted the uptake of new heating technologies and stimulated the evolution of supporting infrastructures.

Project Resources

Gross, R & Hanna, R (2019) Path dependency in provision of domestic heating. Nature Energy, Vol: 4, Pages: 358-364.

Kazaglis A, Tam A, Eis J, Watson J, Hughes N, Gross R, Hanna R (2019) Accelerating innovation towards net zero emissions. Vivid Economics and UKERC for the Aldersgate Group.

Gross R, Hanna R, Gambhir A, Heptonstall P, Speirs J (2018) How long does innovation and commercialisation in the energy sectors take? Historical case studies of the timescale from invention to widespread commercialisation in energy supply and end use technology. Energy Policy, Vol: 123, Pages: 685-699.

Sahni A, Kazaglis A, Hanna R, Gross R, Kemp L, Kingsmill N, McCormac E (2018) International comparisons of heating, cooling and heat decarbonisation policies. Vivid Economics & Imperial College London for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, London.

Hanna, R, Parrish, B & Gross, R (2016) Best practice in heat decarbonisation policy: A review of the international experience of policies to promote the uptake of low-carbon heat supply. UK Energy Research Centre, London.

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