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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

How the circular economy could make electric heat affordable

6/4/2022

6 min read

Picture of a smart meter showing both gas and electricity usage Photo: Shutterstock
Smart meter display unit showing both gas and electricity usage

Photo: Shutterstock

Decarbonisation of domestic heating in the UK implies a shift from gas to electricity in many cases, but electricity can cost three times as much. Here, Dr Garry Felgate FEI, Chair of Thermify Holdings, discusses the options and introduces a novel ‘circular economy’ option.

The climate crisis (and the cost of living) is high on the UK agenda, with the UK government planning to deliver net carbon zero by 2050. The domestic householder will see the transition via the electrification of transport and the electrification of heat. 

 

Looking at the alternatives, according to EDF Energy the cost of an electric vehicle (EV) charging at a public fast charging point is about £6–7 for 30 minutes, giving a range of about 160 km. A modern, highly fuel-efficient VW Golf will deliver a fuel consumption of 4.5 litres/100 km (equivalent to 52 mpg). At today’s pump price of £1.80/l, 160 km will cost just under £16. Like for like, electric cars cost under half the price of petrol. The price is lower still if the driver can charge from home.

 

However, the same is not the case for heating and hot water. Most homes in the UK are heated by gas. There have been significant changes in energy prices recently, particularly those of gas. Using Ofgem’s current caps for standard tariffs in the north-west of England, gas costs 8.3 pence/kWh and electricity is 24.7 p/kWh. Electricity is three time the price of gas. This ratio has come down recently, but still makes electricity considerably more expensive than gas.

 

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