Heat pumps at heart of government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy

In plans just announced by the government as part of their Heat and Buildings Strategy, homeowners will be offered grants of £5,000 for the installation of heat pumps, beginning April 2022.

The grants will form part of the new £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme – a headline commitment which also outlines the government’s plan to work with industry to bring the cost of heat pumps down to a similar point to that of gas boilers. Cost reductions of between 25-50% are expected by 2025 as the market expands and new technology develops.

To ensure heat pumps will be no more expensive to run than gas boilers, ministers are planning to reduce the price of electricity over the next decade by shifting levies from electricity to gas. A call for evidence is to be published, with decisions made in 2022.

Through the strategy, the government has “set out its plan to incentivise people to install low-carbon heating systems in a simple and cheap way as they come to replace their old boilers over the coming decade”. It will also “significantly reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels and exposure to global price spikes, whilst supporting up to 240,000 jobs across the UK by 2035”.

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Recent volatile global prices have highlighted the need to double down on our efforts to reduce Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and move away from gas boilers over the coming decade to protect consumers in long term. As technology improves and costs plummet, we expect low carbon heating systems will become the obvious, affordable choice.”

Homeowners will not be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel boilers. Instead, the government hopes a gradual transition will be fair and practical, enabling people to make green choices when the time comes.

Other measures announced as part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy include:

  • A new £60 million Heat Pump Ready innovation programme, announced as part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. The scheme will provide funding to drive technological innovation to make systems smaller, simple to install and cheaper to run.

  • Wider funding of £3.9 billion, comprising the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Home Upgrade Grant Scheme, Heat Networks Transformation Programme and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Over the next 3 years, the investment will help to decarbonise heat and buildings.

  • A decision to be made on the potential role of hydrogen in heating buildings by 2026. Regardless, the government says heat pump technology will play a key role in all scenarios and support all of those who wish to install them now.

What do industry leaders think?

Phil Hurley, Chair of the Heat Pump Association, said: “Today’s announcement will give industry and installers a huge confidence boost that now is the time to scale-up and retrain in preparation for the mass roll out of heat pumps, as well as making heat pumps as affordable as boilers, so all consumers can soon access and enjoy the benefits of affordable, reliable low carbon heating that stands the test of time.”

Meanwhile, Michael Lewis, Chief Executive of E.ON, said: “We welcome proposals in the Heat and Buildings Strategy which are designed to tackle this issue head-on, making the green option the default option. Once we have mass demand, commercial innovation in installation and economies of scale will take over to reduce costs and give customers greater confidence in what is already a tried and trusted technology for many around the world.”

Heat pumps really are the future…

Heat in buildings now contributes one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the UK – accounting for 21% of the total. As such, there is an urgent need to deliver low-carbon heating solutions, such as heat pumps, to meet the government’s legally binding target of net zero by 2050.

Find out how the team at Freedom HP can support your transition to installing heat pumps by getting in touch with the team today. Give us a call on 02380 274833 or email sales@freedomhp.co.uk.