The UK Government is about to block one of the most impactful options for heat decarbonisation at an industrial scale.
Removing support for large-scale heat pumps represents an impending energy policy facepalm.
If adopted, policy under consultation until July 7th will see the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy impose an effective ban on large-scale heat pump projects, with proposed support restricted to off-grid domestic settings and rare district heat initiatives.
That’s an effective ban on one of the most impactful options for scale heat decarbonisation across a broad range of industries, from retail and academia to agriculture and utilities.
This position places at risk an active, cross-sector development pipeline representing billions of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs nationwide.
Our coalition of organisations is challenging government to pause and re-think the future support it makes available to large-scale heat pump projects.
With the UK’s legal commitment to net zero and its position as hosts of COP 26, now is not the time put a pin in large-scale heat pump projects that can turbocharge decarbonisation across a range of industries and contribute significantly to a ‘green recovery’ from coronavirus,
In fact, it’s time to Pump it Up.
Why this is an impending mistake for energy policy:
Cleaning up our national heat supply is the next frontier in the race to achieve net zero emissions.
An effective ban on ‘one of the primary technologies for decarbonising heat’ is nonsensical.
The existing government support mechanism for stimulating heat decarbonisation, the Renewable Heat Incentive, has dramatically under-delivered.
Some 2 million projects generating 73TWh of clean heat were envisaged, but fewer than 100,000 projects generating 13TWh of clean heat have been delivered.
The lack of surety on offer to heat pump projects for the first decade of the mechanism, before the introduction of Tariff Guarantees, was certainly a contributory factor.
Having been crowded out in the early years by biomass projects within the RHI, and gas CHP projects without the RHI, heat pump projects have recently started to take root as a low carbon, low emission solution.
The updating of building regulations, long overdue and out of kilter with even modest decarbonisation objectives, is expected to further lift the handbrake on heat pump projects.
Clearly, increasing the pace of heat pump deployment will only be possible if the burgeoning pipeline of nationwide projects is not decimated in the interim.
Industry leaders across a range of sectors have identified large-scale heat pumps as central to their decarbonisation strategies.
The successful operation of pioneering projects over multiple years has helped to breed confidence.
An active pipeline of innovation and investment across these organisations presumes access to some form of government support following the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive.
Ideally this would be similar in format to the RHI and make use of the significant funds unallocated by the RHI due to aspects of poor policy design.
That’s why we are challenging government to pause and re-think the future support it makes available to large-scale heat pumps.