The vastly improved air quality in our cities during the 2020 C-19 lockdown was welcome but should not be attributed solely to the inactivity of trains, planes and automobiles. NOx laden air – and its associated respiratory, cardiac and brain health impacts – is also a consequence of burning gas for heating, something we saw far less of due to the mild weather.
Net zero by 2050 means an end to the combustion of fuel ASAP with circa 70% less by 2030.
Glasgow’s Star Renewable Energy (SRE) has proven a viable heat pump alternative in Drammen, Norway. The city chose in 2010 a non-combustion solution with big heat pumps harnessing ambient heat from the local fjord. Over 3 units of clean heat are delivered for every unit of electrical power consumed (6x the efficiency of current best practice for hydrogen).
SRE has subsequently worked to bring the solution back to Scotland, its water source heat pump project at Queen’s Quay on the River Clyde being the first step to harness a resource that could potentially see the cities of Clydebank and Glasgow become gas-free. That prize is attainable for any large city near a river or the sea.
Less than 7 miles up-river from Queen’s Quay, the Scottish Event Campus is preparing to keep world leaders warm at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26 with a combination of fossil fuel boilers and back-up generators. A clean heat alternative was readily available. A UK policy environment to encourage it was not.