EnergyHeat Pump Sales Need to Increase to Reduce Emissions; UK Govt

Heat Pump Sales Need to Increase to Reduce Emissions; UK Govt

UK: The government’s budget inspector has discovered that to meet its annual climate objectives, a significant rise in heat pump sales required. By 2028, the government hopes to have installed 600,000 low-carbon heat pumps a year to satisfy UK climate change objectives.

Ministers were overly optimistic, according to the National Audit Office (NAO), to believe that the goal could be accomplished by then. The government was advised by the NAO to lower expenses and raise public understanding of green technologies.

“The government has some big questions to answer about how it plans to decarbonize home heating,” said Simon Bittlestone, the organization’s head. 

Eighteen per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the UK caused by residential heating. These emissions are what causes climate change. Heat pumps utilize electricity instead of gas, which means that heating our houses with them will result in less emissions as the UK produces more power from renewable sources.

However, just 55,000 heat pumps sold in the UK in 2022, falling short of the government’s objective.

The NAO stated in its report that the following are the primary causes of the poor uptake:

  • low level of public knowledge of the technology
  • the greater price in comparison to gas boilers
  • the absence of sustained household financial support 

According to estimates from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), air-source heat pumps, which are the most popular kind for homes, typically cost £10,000 more than gas boilers. However, some energy providers are using government subsidies to sell heat pumps for as little as £500.

The government says that its Welcome Home to Energy Efficiency campaign, which offers heat pump information, has already begun.

However, Dr Richard Hauxwell-Baldwin, manager of research and campaigns at the MSC Foundation, an industry association, stated: “The availability of information is insufficient. Although it’s a crucial first step, the messaging has to be consistent, clear, and unambiguous.” 

According to him, some gas experts advise homes to wait before pursuing heat pumps because the government has not yet ruled out hydrogen as a heat pump substitute.

The government’s uncertainty over hydrogen heating was another issue brought up by the NAO. It cancelled several experiments intended to obtain further data on the technology’s viability last year.

The NAO informed by industry leaders and local authorities that this uncertainty makes it challenging to invest in heat pumps, which would help lower consumer prices.

The government should decide by 2026 whether or not to include hydrogen in the UK’s energy home heating system, according to the NAO’s recommendation.

A representative for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero responded to the news by stating that households were receiving financial assistance from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which provides payments for heat pumps.

Applications climbed by about 40% last year as a result of the grant’s rise. The government declared on Thursday that insulation will no longer required to apply for the award.

According to Izzy Woolgar, head of Octopus Energy’s independent research unit Centre for Net Zero, “It’s common knowledge that the UK is falling behind Europe when it comes to decarbonising our homes.” 

However, she applauded the government’s intention to drop the grant’s insulation criterion, stating that “it could make a big difference” in the UK’s transition to heat pumps.

The government also declared last week that it would postpone the imposition of fines for boiler makers that fail to meet heat pump sales objectives by one year.

According to Jess Ralston, an energy expert at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), “dithering and U-turns by No 10” are to blame for the delay in the introduction of heat pump technology.

According to her, the government’s move “keeps the UK reliant on gas for longer and only benefits the big boiler manufacturers.” 

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