Heat pump firms urge government to rethink support or “waste billions”


Billions of pounds committed by clients to big heat pump schemes will be wasted unless Whitehall reverses its decision to stop supporting large-scale deployments, according to the industry.

An alliance of technology companies, installers, engineers and social housing groups urge government to stop picking winners, arguing that government’s plans will cut off support for heat pumps in all but off grid homes “and the occasional district heating scheme”.

In a bid to drum up support and pressure Beis to rethink, they have launched the Pump It Up campaign.

Closing on 7 July, the ministry’s consultation on clean heat seeks to close the Renewable Heat Incentive, widely seen to have under delivered for all but biomass, and sets out future support measures to decarbonise heat, perhaps the hardest aspect in achieving net zero.

Government is keen to support green gas and ensure no gap in subsidy between the end of the RHI and a proposed new support mechanism for biomethane injection. However, for heat pumps, future support via a new Green Heat Grant will be capped at 45kW systems.

Bigger schemes already commissioned or designed for social housing, farms and universities won’t be completed without continued support, according to the industry.

“There has been little meaningful dialogue between the industry and government”, according to a Pump It Up spokesperson.

“The RHI was just starting to work for large heat pumps. Industry had been expecting the RHI to be replaced so that the projects it supported could continue.

“While a reduction in value may have been expected, the complete removal of the support mechanism was not”.

Dave Pearson of installers Star Renewable Energy, said government’s thinking puts “billions of pounds of investment” at risk in terms of current project pipelines alone, “which will impact all corners of the economy”.

Pearson’s firm is involved in multi-megawatt heat pump projects, such as the 5MW scheme earmarked for the £250m Queen’s Quay regeneration project in Clydebank. While Queen’s Quay involves a district heating scheme, Pearson urged Beis to think more strategically about how large heat pump projects can help achieve policy aims and carbon budgets.

“The effective ban on large heat pumps is a clear error of judgement and would be a major national embarrassment in the run up to COP 26,” said Pearson. He urged Beis ministers to engage with industry and rethink its plans.

The Pump It Up campaign cites projects now at risk include schemes for Sainsbury, Greencoat and Anglian Water.

More on Pump It Up here.


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