Heat pumps primed to get ‘cheaper and easier’ with £15m boost

Heat pumps: Kensa Contracting install heaters in Thurrock

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The Government has unveiled a new £15million boost to funding innovative projects that are looking to make heat pumps cheaper and easier to install. Britons are currently facing skyrocketing energy bills thanks to the rise in wholesale gas costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the UK does not import gas from Russia, it is heavily dependent on gas, particularly to heat homes through boilers. To end the UK’s vulnerability to wholesale gas markets, the Government is looking to replace gas boilers with heat pumps, which once installed save on energy bills by using electricity rather than gas. 

However, this advanced technology is unaffordable for millions of homes, as a typical heat pump could set Britons back by £13,000.

The new £15million pool of funding would be distributed by the Government across 24 innovation projects to make “low carbon heating like heat pumps cheaper and easier to install.”

The funding is part of the UK’s £60million Heat Pump Ready programme, which is looking to develop innovative solutions that would tear down the barriers to the rollout of low carbon technology in homes and businesses across the country.

In a statement, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The Government is confident that, as the market for low carbon heating grows, the cost of technology will fall rapidly.

“Working with industry, the Government is aiming for heat pumps to cost the same as fossil fuel boilers to buy and run by 2030 at the latest with big reductions of at least 25-50 percent by 2025.”

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said: “In light of rising global gas and oil prices, getting low-carbon heating technology into homes is a priority for this Government as it will help households ditch the costly fossil fuels that are driving up bills.

“Heat pumps are a proven, reliable technology that uses cheaper renewable energy produced in the UK. We are already bringing costs down through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and slashing VAT to zero, but by finding innovative ways to make them even cheaper and easier to install, we will help more homes see the benefits even quicker.”

The Government has pushed for more households to invest in heat pumps, even rolling out the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, that offers subsidies of up to £5,000 to households looking to replace their boilers. 

Britons have also been offered a zero rate of VAT for installing clean heating measures, which the Government says will make it an even more affordable option for people looking to replace a gas or oil boiler on their property.

The Heat Pump Ready programme is aimed primarily at slashing the costs and boosting the performance of domestic heat pumps, “minimise disruption in homes during the process of heat pump installation and develop financial models that support an increase in heat pump deployment.”

This comes as a new report found that green home upgrades like insulation and heat pumps are primed to boost the economy by £7billion a year, and provide 140,000 new jobs by 2030.

However, the researchers warned that Government policy is critical for ensuring that these measures are taken up by households, particularly as many of them have high upfront costs.

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One of the factors that may be dissuading households from accessing support through the BUS is that to qualify, households need to meet a high standard of home insulation.

These measures could cost anywhere from £7,000 to £15,000, and until very recently there is no Government support for the average homeowner.

Meanwhile, Kevin McCloud, a property designer urged Britons to focus on improving the energy efficiency of their home as a surefire way to lower bills, adding that for those who have the means to buy a heat pump right now should go for it. 

He said: “They’re getting more efficient, but I’d say get one now. They’re still a little expensive but the point is that it’s not complex technology and it’s not really going to change in terms of the offer.

“All that is going to happen over the next 10 years is that they’ll come down in price because they will be produced in vast volumes.”

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