Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

A plan in the UK aimed at increasing the adoption of heat pumps has been postponed due to pressure from the gas industry.
Environment World News

A plan in the UK aimed at increasing the adoption of heat pumps has been postponed due to pressure from the gas industry.

The government has postponed its plans for promoting the adoption of heat pumps for a year, following pressure from the gas boiler industry.

The purpose of the clean heat market mechanism is to incentivize heating installers to install a greater number of low-carbon heat pumps, with the goal of achieving the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and reducing energy consumption.

The program involves a requirement for businesses to gradually increase their use of heat pumps in comparison to gas boilers. If they fail to meet this requirement, they may face financial consequences. However, this was misrepresented as a “boiler tax” by gas heating companies and lobbyists. In response to the potential program, some boiler companies raised their prices by £120. This was deemed unfair price manipulation by a government source.

The government announced on Thursday that the mechanism, originally scheduled for April, has been pushed back to April 2025. The energy secretary, Claire Coutinho, has requested that the Competition and Markets Authority look into the boiler market as well.

Reforms to the boiler upgrade scheme also announced on Thursday will mean households no longer need to upgrade their insulation to take advantage of government heat pump grants. Removing the requirement for cavity wall and loft insulation should save consumers about £2,500 on a heat pump installation, for which the government is offering a £7,500 grant.

Heat pumps can be expensive, with some models costing up to £14,000. However, more affordable options are becoming available. Heat pumps tend to operate at lower temperatures than boilers, resulting in lower radiator temperatures. For optimal efficiency, it is recommended that homeowners also have insulation installed. While this can reduce emissions, it can also increase the overall cost of installation.

Avoid the newsletter advertisement and proceed forward.

Coutinho, who recently advocated for the implementation of new gas-fired power plants, stated: “We have already assisted families with our boiler upgrade program, which is one of the most generous in Europe. Now, we are making heat pumps more accessible and affordable for installation. Our overall goal is to reduce our emissions and make homes more energy-efficient without imposing heavy financial strain on families.”

Juliet Phillips, an analyst from the E3G think tank, praised certain elements of the plan but urged the government to take action more quickly. According to Phillips, “It is imperative that the government promptly implements the legislation to avoid speculations that the mechanism has been quietly abandoned.”

The postponement of a crucial government policy for transitioning the UK away from fossil fuel heating is a great disappointment, according to David Cowdrey, the director of external affairs for the MCS Foundation. This policy, known as the clean heat market mechanism, is necessary for the widespread adoption of heat pumps, the only feasible solution for reducing the 17% of UK emissions generated by home heating.

He added: “The government needs to immediately set out plans for how it intends to fill the huge gap in heat pump plans that they have just created. We need clear and consistent policy more than anything, and without that the UK’s target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 is in serious jeopardy.”

Source: theguardian.com