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Why is renewable heat in the UK underperforming? A socio-technical perspective

Citation Bergman, N. Why is renewable heat in the UK underperforming? A socio-technical perspective. 2013. https://doi.org/10.1177/F0957650912471291.
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Author(s) Bergman, N.
Opus Title Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy
Pages 124-131
Volume 227
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/F0957650912471291

The potential role of microgeneration in energy supply, carbon emissions reduction, energy security and even fuel poverty has been a topic of much interest in the past few years. Industry and government focus has been on financial tools and other policies aimed at maximising uptake. However, some recent studies on solar hot water and heat pumps suggest that not all microgeneration installations are delivering the expected energy or emissions savings, and consumers are in turn not reaping the expected financial benefits. The reasons are a mixture of technical problems and poor installations, institutional issues, poor information supply to users, and improper use. Such issues could delay or jeopardise plans for rolling out microgenerators such as heat pumps. This article considers what policies would help maximise the above-listed benefits of microgeneration, including the implications for the Renewable Heat Incentive, and the importance of measuring actual energy savings in homes. Given the mixed nature of the issues, a broader systemic view is used to analyse the institutional, cultural and behavioural reasons for the discrepancies in energy savings.