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The UK's implementation of heat pumps has been deemed too sluggish by a government agency responsible for overseeing expenditures.
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The UK’s implementation of heat pumps has been deemed too sluggish by a government agency responsible for overseeing expenditures.

The government’s heat pump rollout has been criticized by the public spending watchdog for its slow progress. This comes shortly after the postponement of a key scheme meant to speed up the rate of installations.

The National Audit Office (NAO) released a report stating that there would be a need for 11 times the current rate of heat pump installations in order to meet the government’s goal of having 600,000 heat pumps installed in homes annually by 2028.

Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, revealed that the government’s efforts to inform and persuade households to adopt low-carbon heating options have fallen short, as the number of heat pumps installed by December 2023 is only expected to reach less than half of the initial projections.

The final version of the report was completed just before the government announced last week that they would postpone a program that mandates heating installers to use more eco-friendly heat pumps. This decision will likely make reaching the specified targets even more challenging.

The clean heat market mechanism, originally set to begin next month, was created to promote the use of heat pumps by mandating that manufacturers increase the number of installations with heat pumps over time or face penalties.

The National Audit Office (NAO) stated that the mechanism, which includes a program that provides funding for heat pump installations, is projected to achieve two-thirds of the installation goal by 2028.

The delay of implementing the mechanism until April 2025 has been criticized by Nick Winser, the commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission. He believes this decision has made achieving the set targets even more challenging.

Winser stated that the NAO has revealed that the government’s current plans do not seem adequate to achieve its goal of installing 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028. Additionally, the plans do not seem sufficient in helping the 8 million homes that must transition from fossil fuel boilers to electrified heating by 2035 in order to meet climate targets.

The government has recognized that electric heat pumps are crucial in reducing Britain’s home heating emissions, which account for almost 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Its goal is to have 600,000 heat pumps installed each year by 2028, a significant jump from the 55,000 sales in 2022. By 2035, it aims to have 1.6 million heat pumps installed annually.

According to a spokesperson from the government, the choice to raise the offered grants for installing a new heat pump from £5,000 to £7,500 has resulted in a 40% increase in applications.

The spokesperson stated that a media campaign led by the government is currently running on television, radio, and newspapers. This campaign is providing tips and details on how installing heat pumps, insulation, and solar panels can reduce household emissions and lower energy costs. It has reached 16.6 million households so far.

Source: theguardian.com