Low Carbon Heat and Rural Fuel Poverty – Lessons from across Europe

Start Date: August 2016
Completion Date: November 2017
Grant Holders: Community Energy Plus
Main Contact: Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive, Jenny Hannam, Project Officer: Renewables and Communities
Email: Jennifer@cep.org.uk


This study examines the role of low carbon heat and the potential for it to address fuel poverty, particularly in rural locations. Best practice examples have been sourced from EU member states, which are leading in both the deployment of low carbon heat and with low reported fuel poverty levels. A review of barriers to the UK has been compiled and learning experiences drawn, to inform next steps in the low carbon heat agenda.

Final report

Research summary

A number have additional resources have been produced, including a policy brief, best practice guide, low carbon heat poster and webinar. These resources can be downloaded here.

Using solar PV to tackle fuel poverty

Start Date July 2012
Completion Date December 2013
Grant Holders: Changeworks
Main Contact Tessa Clark, Researcher
Email: tclark@changeworks.org.uk


Photovoltaic (PV) systems have historically been a middle-class luxury due to high capital costs and a focus on Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) income. However, their free electricity can significantly help to alleviate fuel poverty. This project will demonstrate and maximise PV’s impact on fuel poverty by analysing electricity bill savings from social housing installations. New easy-to-understand guidance on using PV will be developed and trialled to help tenants maximise their financial benefits. A toolkit for social landlords will also be produced, providing guidance on selecting properties and tenants who would benefit most from PV and how to implement user advice.

Final Report, Landlord Guide and Research Summary:

Download report
Download landlord guide
Download research summary


Masters of Research dissertation: Fuel poverty and the re-emergence of wood as a sustainable source of energy in Fife, Scotland and beyond

Grant Holders: University of St Andrews
Main Contact Ivan Delev, Masters student, University of St Andrews
Email: Id25@st-andrews.ac.uk


Masters dissertation

In 2009, an estimated 4.5 million households in the UK were classified as being fuel poor, an increase from around 3.75 million the previous year. Many of those categorised as being fuel poor are mainly rural households who in the recent past, have increasingly found it difficult to procure affordable energy for domestic consumption. This study, using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, will attempt to explore people’s perceptions of fuel poverty and wood bio-fuel, as well as evaluate policy initiatives aimed at promoting wood fuel as an alternative solution to fuel poverty in rural Fife. It is envisaged that the findings will contribute to energy policy formulation both in Scotland and the UK as a whole.

Masters student: Ivan Delev
Supervised by Dr Danny Simatele, Department of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews


Download dissertation


The impact of the UK meeting EU and domestic renewables targets on the country’s fuel poor households

Start Date May 2009
Completion Date June 2011
Grant Holders: Centre for Sustainable Energy
Main Contact Ian Preston, CSE
Email: ian.preston@cse.org.uk


The project aims to determine the impact of meeting the UK’s EU target for renewables of 20% by 2020 on consumers’ energy bills. The study will quantify the scale of sustainable energy deployment required and the benefits resulting from the targets delivery. The benefits will be experienced mainly as reduced fuel purchases and/or on-site energy generation. Because the benefits of the target are unlikely to be distributed between households in the same way as the costs of delivery, there is the potential for negative distributional impacts. The study will examine the distributional impacts of the measures identified to ensure fuel poor households’ energy bills are not disproportionately impacted upon.

Full report and research summary

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Download research summary

The role of domestic renewable energy technologies in alleviating fuel poverty

Start Date May 2009
Completion Date December 2011
Grant Holders: Materials and Engineering Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University
Main Contact Dr Fin O’Flaherty
Email: F.J.OFlaherty@shu.ac.uk


The project will investigate the role that domestic renewable energy technologies, such as solar thermal hot water heating systems and heat pumps, can play in alleviating fuel poverty in the UK. This project will involve the collection and longitudinal analysis of detailed energy generation and consumption data from two groups of existing houses that are to be fitted with renewable energy technologies. The data from these houses and a sample of control properties will be used to determine the impact of the newly installed renewable energy technologies on levels of fuel poverty and the ability of low-income households to maintain a satisfactory heating regime.

Full report, research summary and good practice guide

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Download research summary
Download good practise guide

Renewable Heritage best practice

Start Date July 2008
Completion Date November 2008
Grant Holders: Changeworks
Main Contact Bob Barnham
Email: rbarnham@changeworks.org.uk


Changeworks’ Renewable Heritage project will install renewable technologies into listed Georgian tenemental property in central Edinburgh, and encourage wider replication. The property is social housing owned by a tenant managed housing co-operative.

The property is hard-to-treat and the tenants are at risk of fuel poverty. Eaga-CT is grant funding the promotion and dissemination stage of the project: Best Practice guidance, related web publication and a conference. The tenants are actively involved in the project.

Renewable Heritage is complementary to and follows Energy Heritage, which received an Eaga-CT grant for project development and best practice guidance of energy efficient improvements, which reduced the baseline energy demand, against which renewables could then be introduced.

Useful Links: http://www.changeworks.org.uk/householders/renewable-heritage/580/