Heat pump industry sees Budget as “just the beginning”

Graham Wright
Graham Wright

The Heat Pump Association has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget this week, which it said sets out solid plans to fund the replacement of fossil fuel heating and invest in low carbon heating.

Graham Wright, Chairman of the HPA, said: “This is exactly the type of pro-active investment we need to see from government if we are serious about meeting the aim for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have frequently stated that the low carbon heating technology is there and available, but only with the right policies, investment and awareness will we see the major uptake required.

“However, this is just the beginning. Industry must also fulfil its commitment to producing sufficient heat pumps, in both quality and quantity, and working with government to ensure the installer base has the necessary skills to install them correctly.”

HPA noted commitments including a levy on gas suppliers to support green gas injection to the grid, expected to be implemented in autumn 2021, £100 million of exchequer funding in total for 2022/23 and 2023/24 for grant-funding for households and small non-domestic buildings, to install heat pumps, or biomass in limited circumstances, to replace fossil fuel heating, and £270m for a Green Heat Network Fund to run from 2022 to 2025, to follow on from the Heat Network Investment Project.

The Government will also extend the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (DRHI) for a year in 2021/22, maintaining support for heat pumps, biomass and solar thermal.

Manufacturer NIBE also fully supported the government’s ambitions. It also noted government commitment as part of the National Skills Fund to improve the technical skills of adults across the country.

Phil Hurley, managing director of NIBE, said: “The budget today is a significant step in the right direction and will open up low carbon heating solutions to homes and businesses in the UK. Heat is one of the more challenging areas of the economy to decarbonise and the UK will not be zero carbon by 2050 unless we phase out high carbon heating. Heat pumps have already received rightful recognition for their carbon saving potential and efficiency, and the announcement of the extension to the RHI and this new grant scheme builds on this further. Addressing the upfront investment required to support low carbon heat uptake is key if we are to see mass deployment. We now look forward to the implementation of this promise.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings is key to reducing emissions however, property performance was not referenced within the budget and no additional support for efficiency improvements has been provided. This is disappointing, however I look forward to the government’s buildings roadmap expected in the summer which should take a holistic approach to improving our buildings and transitioning to low carbon heat.”