OFTEC's future vision launched at annual conference

OFTEC’s proposals to improve energy efficiency and carbon reduction for off grid homes in England and Wales were officially presented at the trade association’s annual conference and AGM, where new chairman, Niall Fay of Grant Engineering, was also welcomed to the post.

OFTEC CEO Paul Rose formally shared OFTEC’s vision for the future with attendees on Tuesday 20 June at The Hilton Puckrup Hotel near Tewkesbury. The vision focuses on a two-stage approach, looking at a boiler replacement programme in the short term (2018-2022) and introducing a low carbon liquid fuel as a replacement to kerosene from 2022.

Commenting on OFTEC’s vision, Paul Rose said: “Improving energy efficiency and carbon reduction for off grid homes is an issue which must be urgently addressed.

“OFTEC has taken the lead and developed what we believe is a practical, affordable and effective solution which addresses the Department of Business, Energy and Industry’s four key requirements: to keep energy bills low; cost effectively reduce carbon emissions; ensure a secure, resilient energy supply; and avoid unreasonable upfront costs for consumers in the process.

“We now need to share this vision and its clear benefits with government and other stakeholders, and ask for the support we need to progress our plans to the next stage. Time is ticking and we can’t afford to leave anything to chance. All cost effective, pragmatic measures must now be considered to accelerate the UK’s progress towards its carbon reduction targets.” 

During the event, Grant Engineering Director Niall Fay officially took over the two year position of OFTEC chair from Nick Hawkins, Director of Commercial Operations at Kingspan Environmental.

Nick Hawkins said: “It has been another strong year for both our industry and for OFTEC. Boiler sales increased by 15%, further building on the excellent growth we saw in 2015, and industry innovation has seen manufacturers offering low NOx solutions 18 months ahead of the September 2018 deadline.

“With oil prices predicted to remain low for some time to come, we have every reason to believe our industry will retain its competitive edge. But we can’t afford to be complacent and OFTEC is already investigating the viability of low carbon biofuels, which we see as the future for our industry.”

Other key achievements for OFTEC over the past year include the successful launch of the ‘Tank Safe’ campaign in association with FPS to encourage consumers to look after their oil storage systems. Also, the continued growth of OFTEC’s competent persons scheme covering oil, solid fuel and renewable technologies, which now has almost 9,000 registered technicians – the highest level since 2013.

New OFTEC Chair, Niall Fay added: “Through the technical innovation of OFTEC’s members, and our expanding technician registration base, we will continue to provide the best progressive support and services for the 2.3 million oil using households across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

“I look forward to building on the excellent contribution Nick has made during his time as chair and to helping OFTEC take its next steps forward.”

Additional speakers at the OFTEC conference included Tristan Suffys, secretary general of Eurofuel, who discussed the oil heating market across Europe, and Martin Cooke, technical director of EOGB, who showcased the latest developments in modulating low NOx domestic burners.

Paul Rose concluded: “It’s an exciting time for the oil heating industry. We are on a strong footing and have a clear vision for the future. We now need to unite industry and government behind our aims and continue our work to turn this into reality.”

A video summarising OFTEC’s ‘Vision for the future of off-grid domestic heating in England and Wales’ can be viewed here and to order a copy of OFTEC’s vision document, click here.