Bob Ward Wants To Phase Out Gas Central Heating & Cookers
By Paul Homewood
The property world looks set to be facing an enormous upheaval following the climate change deal in Paris which could see the end of cooking and heating with gas in the UK.
Gas hobs, cookers, fires and boilers could all be phased out within 15 years, with households dumping appliances.
All gas-fired power stations must also close by the mid-2030s, unless they manage to remove CO2 from their emissions.
Around 23m British homes use gas, but the Government wants to see far less reliance on it.
Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change, said that to meet Britain’s commitment to the climate change deal, the days of using gas are numbered.
He said: “Gas cookers will be phased out, probably as soon as possible.
“I suspect manufacturers will simply stop making them.”
The Government is keen for greater take-up of alternative technologies such as heat pumps, and intermittent wind and solar power, in which there would be different energy tariffs charged depending on, for example, whether the day is bright and breezy or overcast and still.
The implications for people buying, selling, renting and letting homes will be enormous if the present and future governments follow through.
Landlords, for example, who are considering refurbishing properties may already want to start thinking about the heating and cooking systems they should put in.
As the 15 years go by, homes with gas central heating could be worth less.
In addition, the EPC industry is likely to be thrown into turmoil, as at present gas systems count for more than electrical ones.
Critics are also pointing out that if 23m homes chuck out all their gas appliances in the next 15 years, that will be an awful lot of landfill.
I am not sure what Bob Ward, who is paid to disseminate global warming propaganda, means by to meet Britain’s commitment to the climate change deal, as it is obvious that the UK is already doing far more than its share.
But let’s consider his proposal.
For a start, we need to recognise that the consumption of natural gas by domestic users is equivalent in energy terms to the total electricity generated in the UK. According to DECC, in the cold weather of 2010, domestic gas consumption amounted to 389 TWh. In comparison, total electricity supplied to all users, not just domestic, was 339 TWh.
If all domestic users are to be switched from gas to electric, demand for the latter would therefore more than double. And this at a time when conventional power stations, including, as Ward suggests, gas ones, are being shut down.
The switch would also take place against a background of rapidly rising electricity prices.
Then there is the question of how the changeover from gas is to be achieved. DECC has published many strategic plans, showing how this should be moved forward, for instance here. However, these plans, promoting heat pumps, biomass and heat networks, all seem to have been written by civil servants who don’t have the slightest idea of how the real world operates.
In reality, people simply have shown no interest in changing. I posed the question a couple of years ago of how the government could “persuade” householders to switch to the new technology, and arrived at three conclusions:
1) Heavily subsidise new technology – but this is simply not affordable
2) Artificially increase the cost of current systems, by taxing either natural gas or conventional boilers, or both
None are very pretty.