Jan Rosenow: How to get from a cottage industry to a million heat pumps a year. The government highlighted the importance of electrifying heat in its Energy White Paper, as did the prime minister in his ten point plan, in which he committed to installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. Fewer than 30,000 heat pumps were installed last year. It is an ambitious target: the UK needs to increase the number of heat pumps installed in homes each year at least 25-fold by 2028 to meet it. And a nearly 40-fold increase is required to meet the Committee on Climate Change’s trajectory of 900,000 heat pumps by 2028. To put this in perspective, approximately 1.6 million gas boilers were installed in UK homes last year, compared to less than 30,000 heat pumps. This demonstrates the scale of the challenge but also the opportunity for reducing emissions. To achieve this upsurge, households need guidance, financial support, incentives and standards to meet. Success requires the government to be strongly joined up, between ministries, and between Whitehall and local councils, and to work in concert with industry, banks and the supply chain. Adapting approaches used for electric vehicles to clean heating, we have made four recommendations in four areas, and each needs a clear decision from government this year. 1. Convening a Heat Pump Council this year – similar to the Automotive Council that has been pivotal to ending petrol and diesel car sales by 2030 – would help the government to manage the step change and ensure every household opting for a heat pump has a good experience. 2. the government should begin scaling up the financial support offered to households to install heat pumps. 3. Adjusting prices for electricity and gas to reflect their true relative costs can provide incentives while protecting fuel poor households. 4. The government needs to clearly signal this year that it will phase out fossil fuelled home heating systems, with regulation allowing for a market led approach similar to the phase out of petrol and diesel cars in 2030. Ideally, this plan would eliminate oil heating systems from the late 2020s and gas heating systems from the early 2030s, sparking long term commercial investment in the skills and innovations needed to deliver the mass market for heat pumps.
Green Alliance Blog 21st April 2021 read more »