Net Zero Carbon Development Plan Document - Regulation 19
7 Energy sources
Policy NZC2(B): Zero or Low Carbon Energy Sources and Zero Carbon Ready Technology
New development of one or more new dwellings (C3 or C4 use class) and/or 1,000sqm or more of new non-residential floorspace, hotels (C1 use class), or residential institutions (C2 use class) should demonstrate through an energy statement that additional renewable, zero and low carbon energy technologies have been provided on-site* to achieve the carbon reductions required by Policy NZC1 and achieve on-site net zero operational carbon wherever possible.
Where full compliance is not feasible or viable having regard to the type of development involved and its design, proposals must:
- demonstrate through the energy statement that additional renewable, zero and low carbon energy technologies have been provided to the greatest extent feasible and viable.
- incorporate 'zero carbon ready' (as opposed to immediately providing 'low/zero carbon') technologies.
*this may include off site existing or planned zero, low carbon or renewable energy generation or heat network provision where there is a direct off-grid connection to the development which has capacity to serve the development.
7.1 It is the Council's aspiration that by maximising the energy efficiencies achieved through NZC2(A), the energy demands of developments will be significantly reduced. NZC2(B) requires that the means of meeting residual energy demands is set out in an energy statement. This energy statement should consider all available zero or low carbon energy sources that could be incorporated or utilised so that the energy used in the development achieves the minimum carbon emissions. The Council will expect energy statements to address low carbon or renewable energy generation in the specific local context of each development. Options should explore:
- On site renewable energy and low carbon energy generation for individual buildings including solar energy and heat pumps and any other sources of energy/heat that may be applicable.
- Direct, off grid connections to local offsite renewable energy sources such as solar farms or wind turbines.
- Large scale sources of energy/heat such as a direct connection to low carbon heat networks.
7.2 Developers are expected to incorporate local renewable energy generation within schemes in line with the energy statement, as a way of reducing the offsetting requirements. Where large scale renewable or low carbon energy options may be appropriate (such as for residential schemes in excess of 150 dwellings), developers are advised to contact the Council to discuss data on appropriate sources of heat, existing schemes or plans that could support the development and other support that the Council or its partners may be able to offer.
7.3 The Government has set out its intention to ensure that new homes and buildings will not be built with fossil fuel heating, such as natural gas boilers. Given the Council's commitment to reducing carbon emissions across the District, we are seeking to accelerate the delivery of this national ambition within Warwick District. As a result, the Council is expecting that energy sources avoid fossil fuels in their entirety.
7.4 This policy is written with the view that it is likely that heat pumps or near-zero-carbon heat networks will have already been deployed in the design to achieve the required initial 63% carbon reduction against Part L 2021. The policy therefore aims to encourage on-site or near-site renewable electricity generation. Warwick District Council recognises that not all sites will be suitable for large-scale wind and solar for reasons of grid constraints, shadow or heritage, in which case off-site renewables, partial compliance, or offsetting under NZC2(C) can be acceptable.
7.5 Zero carbon ready technology is that which is already available (such as heat pumps) and its transition to zero carbon is based on realistic current projections of the time-period in which its carbon will be eliminated. 'Zero carbon ready' heat technologies that rely on speculative future technological advances and use onsite fossil fuels meanwhile, will not be accepted.
7.6 'Zero carbon ready' technology does not include gas boilers that are marketed as 'hydrogen-ready' but will use fossil fuel gas for the foreseeable future. These should be avoided because there is no robust national or local timeline for transitioning the gas system onto hydrogen or other green gas at the time of writing, and current hydrogen production technology is vastly inefficient (taking multiple units of electricity to produce each unit of hydrogen). It therefore is prudent to simply use the electricity as it is, rather than converting it to hydrogen.
7.7 Currently, the only proven heating technology with a realistic and time-bound projected transition to zero carbon is electricity, whether direct electric or heat pumps. This has a clear trajectory to zero carbon in the form of the national Treasury Green Book projections on electricity grid carbon. Nevertheless, the policy wording is designed to be flexible towards future technological innovation, for example if a low-carbon, non-wasteful way to produce hydrogen is developed, along with a realistic national timeline for converting the gas system away from fossil fuels.
7.8 Through the holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions by following the energy hierarchy and polices NZC2(A) and NZC2(B), should developments fail to achieve net zero on occupation, or are found to have emissions in excess of the set targets for emission reductions through performance gap monitoring, offsetting through Policy NZC2(C) will apply.
7.9 Where developments give rise to carbon emissions in excess of the targets in NZC1, following the application of policies NZC2(A) and NZC2(B), offsetting through NZC2(C) will apply. The offsetting calculation will be based on reasonable assumptions (including published national policy ambitions for renewable electricity) about future levels of carbon emissions associated with that energy source.