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Challenge 1: National Grid ESO

What are the barriers that hamper current natural gas consumers in moving towards alternative lower carbon heating methods such as heat pumps?


Domestic heating in the GB housing stock is one of the main contributors to national CO2 emissions. In our Future Energy Scenarios, we envisage a rapid decarbonisation of home heating through electrification and through the introduction of alternative low carbon fuels such as hydrogen. This switch from natural gas is one of our most important steps to demonstrating a credible pathway to Net Zero by 2050.

One of the ways FES is used is in the electricity and gas network investment processes, deciding what needs to be built and when to meet the energy system needs. Whilst we have this deep understand on the network investment side, we want to understand further the societal aspect and how FES can be a key enabler for change as there is currently a general gap for industry and decision makers in understanding the interaction between the citizen at local/community level and the national level societal transformation required to deliver the UK’s net zero ambitions now (and how it may need to evolve). To help shape our thinking, we want to know who would most benefit from different low carbon heating technologies: Where they are in the country? What is the type of household in which they live? What technologies should they consider? When should they make these big financial investments?

Suggested Objectives (not all of these are required):

  1. Investigate Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and open data sources on domestic heating. (The EPC does not cover all housing stock). Are there important systematic gaps in the data? E.g. older houses that are not frequently bought or sold. EPCs are driven by annual fuel costs, is this the right measure when choosing between different technologies?
  2. Heat pumps are one of our most important low-carbon domestic technologies: we expect large numbers of these across our scenarios. Are there simple household-level models of a heat pump (‘Efficiency’?)that we can use to understand who would benefit most from this technology? This could consider a customer’s typical energy usage, location within the country, and size and type of heat pump.
  3. Can we determine in energy terms how far a region’s housing stock is away from being at optimal energy efficiency? Where and who are these customers who potentially have most to gain from energy efficiency and low carbon measures?
  4. What are the barriers these customer’s face inmoving to lower carbon heating technologies? Is it the household they live in? Cost? Are the rapid decarbonisation targets we have in our scenarios feasible for some local regions?


We would love to see models or analysis that can answer some of these questions at a regional level, e.g. maps showing heat pump suitability for local authorities, and possibly also specific ideas or recommendations on how to remove some of these barriers. We’re also keen to explore novel or unusual methods that you can come up with to visualise some of these data.

Example Data Sources

FES building block data:

DLUHC EPC data and visualiser: Datasets, Microsoft Power BI

Appliances database:

Example heat pump model: