The UK arm of nationalised French powerco EdF has bought full control of CB Heating, one of Britain’s leading manufacturers of air sourced heat pumps.
The transnational nukes-to-offshore-wind combine positions itself as Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity.
Two years ago it took a minority stake in the 23-year old Clacton, Essex based ASHP-maker. Their partnership boosted CB Heating’s skilled workforce fivefold in its first year, training an extra 370 engineers. Full ownership is expected to yield still more. The purchase price was not disclosed.
As deployment of air- and ground-sourced extractors of low carbon energy lags woefully behind the government’s target of 600,000 per year by 2028, EdF’s move coincides with D-ESNZ’s recent 50% boost to the household pump subsidy.
It now offers householders £7,500 per home ASHP installation. Extending the Boiler Upgrade Scheme by three years until 2008 is Whitehall’s supporting incentive.
With the Future Homes Standard set to ban installation of gas boilers in new homes after 2024, and a total ban on gas boilers by 2035, both acquiror and acquiree intend today’s consolidation to slash waiting times. EDF wants these to drop by half from their current three to four months.
The deal will also see EdF putting a dedicated team in place to deliver heat pumps to homes.
A major challenge confronting the government’s overarching decarbonisation strategy is a dearth of qualified heat engineers.
According to economic consultancy Nesta, Britain needs 27,000 qualified technicians to meet that target of delivering 600,000 heat pump installations every year by 2028. At present only 4,500 qualified installers earn a living from heat pumps in the UK,,compared to more than 150,000 gas safe engineers.
Since August 2022, EdF’s partnership with CB Heating has aided development of the Heat Pump Installers Network (HPIN) Academy, delivering free training nationwide to upskill engineers at every level.
In consequence, heat pump installers under training have risen from 90 experts to 463 now. The Academy has capacity to train 4,000 new heat pump installers every year.
Clayton Browne, managing director of CB Heating, said: “Now we have has the resource to continue to grow our HPIN venture, already the largest network of qualified trained heat pump installers in the UK.
“We plan to train over 1,000 heat pump installers in 2024, meaning a quarter of all estimated heat pump installers in the UK will be a HPIN member.
Philippe Commaret, EdF’s managing director of customers said: “The investment we’re making in the heat pump market is representative of all the work we’re doing to help Britain achieve net zero.
EdF’s rival, Octopus, now Britain’s second-biggest energy supplier by account volume, bought Craigavon -based pump manufacturer RED in April 2022.