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GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THE ‘EXTREMELY IMPORTANT’ ROLE OF LARGE-SCALE HEAT PUMPS IN HEAT DECARBONISATION

  • Admission comes as BEIS prepares to close a consultation on the policy framework threatening to kill them off
  • And as Committee on Climate Change notes that “plans are needed to support larger heat pumps”

July 6th 2020

In an apparent eleventh-hour change of heart, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has acknowledged the "extremely important" role of large-scale heat pumps in the decarbonisation of heat.

The admission by Parliamentary Under-Secretary Lord Callanan, speaking in the House of Lords last Wednesday*, has raised hopes among industry campaigners challenging the proposed policy framework that threatens to kill off large-scale heat pump projects across the UK.

In its Future Support for Clean Heat consultation, closing tomorrow, BEIS proposes capping support for virtually all heat pump technology at 45kW.  Industry leaders have described this as an ‘effective ban’ on heat pump technology in a commercial setting, including projects currently planned for supermarkets, schools, universities, parks, cities and greenhouses nationwide.

The acknowledgement of the role such projects can play on the long road to the decarbonisation of UK heat comes in the same week that the Committee on Climate Change branded the measures proposed by government to support clean heat projects following the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive as "inadequate".

In its Progress Report to Parliament**, the CCC notes that the proposed move to grant funding will sustain only current levels of heat pump deployment rather than the "order of magnitude higher" demanded by the legal commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  The CCC identifies that "plans are needed to support large heat pump projects in non-residential settings".

The Pump it Up campaign was launched last month with the single aim of challenging government to preserve a place in policy for large scale heat pumps.  Its members share between them a pipeline of projects representing billions of pounds of investment into clean heat projects across industries including retail, academia, agriculture and utilities.

Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Kevin Stickney, Managing Director, Erda Energy, said:

"Hopefully this is a sign that government is listening to industry and listening to its climate advisors when it comes to providing support that enables the future roll-out of large-scale heat pump projects.

"We all know that the electrification of heat is pivotal to achieving net zero and it would be madness to remove the option of commercial deployment of heat pump technology.

"We look forward to sitting down with the Secretary of State and his team to look at how our shared ambition for heat pump deployment can be most effectively delivered."

- Ends  -

* https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2020-07-01/debates/52204066-4333-4720-9367-EB88611955BF/CommitteeOnClimateChangeProgressReport#contribution-B1D62334-80ED-4609-94E8-9EC7E9E415E5

** https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/reducing-uk-emissions-2020-progress-report-to-parliament/

About the Pump it Up campaign

The Pump it Up campaign is challenging government to pause and commit to a re-think of the future support it makes available to large-scale heat pump projects.

Despite acknowledging that heat pumps are "one of the primary technologies for decarbonising heat", the Future support for low carbon heat consultation, launched by BEIS at the end of April and due to close on 7th July, envisages only deployment of small-scale heat pumps in off-grid households and the niche possibility of larger pumps being used in district heat settings.

Pump it Up members span projects in a wide variety of sectors, including retail, utilities, agriculture, housing and academia.  The breadth of large-scale heat pump projects these organisations are already working on underlines the sheer scale of potential heat decarbonisation set to be lost if policy proposals are followed through.

The members of the Pump it Up campaign are: Black Mountain Developments, Erda Energy, Low Carbon Farming, Oasthouse Ventures, Possible, ReEnergise, Solid Energy, Star Refrigeration, ThamesWey and Zero Carbon Yorkshire.

For more information about the campaign and the large heat pump projects its members are involved with, please visit www.pumpitup.today.

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