UK’s 3 main challenges ‘hinged on the £6bn heat pump pledge’

Boris Johnson discusses introduction of heat pumps to UK homes

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been urged to unveil a “generous and ambitious” £6billion investment boost to energy efficiency measures and the rollout of heat pumps in the UK. BESA, an industry body, has called for more immediate action to decarbonise homes in the UK through heat pumps and increased energy efficiency by 2025. Experts argue that doing so could help tackle “three of the biggest challenges” that the country is facing today, energy security, cost of living, and climate change. In November last year, the Chancellor announced a £6billion commitment to these measures from 2025, provided that the Tory party stays in power after the election. 

He noted that this boost would nearly double the Government’s existing financial commitments that have been made for cutting energy demand in buildings. 

He said: “We set our country a new ambition: by 2030, we want to reduce energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15 percent. Reducing demand by this much means, in today’s prices, a £28billion saving from our national energy bill or £450 off the average household bill.”

However, BESA said that it was adding its voice to the growing demand the Government is facing to avoid any delays in increasing investment in energy efficiency measures.

They urged UK authorities to implement these energy efficiency funding plans, which are currently scheduled for the second half of the decade.

BESA argued that this investment can help address tackle immediate concerns about the cost of energy, while also helping the Government reach its targets for low-carbon heating.

Graeme Fox, technical director of the industry body, warned that the Government needs to roll out fresh financial commitments as soon as possible to keep ambitions to tackle climate change on target.

H&VNews reports him saying: “The Government does seem committed to making both residential and commercial buildings more energy efficient, but its funding timetable needs an urgent review.

“The country is not on track to meet its long-term goals and we are also missing a shorter-term opportunity to improve our energy security by not tackling the root causes of excessive fossil fuel use for heating.”

BESA cited recent findings by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank, which called on the Government to enact more immediate funding to improve the energy efficiency of homes and other buildings at scale.

The think tank also found that the UK needs a further £3.4billion in subsidies to be introduced to ensure that the Government was meeting its target of installing a minimum of 600,000 heat pumps every year from 2028.

The report stated: “However, while the announcements of an energy demand reduction target, additional investment after 2025, and an EEFT were welcome, the action proposed by the Government did not match the rhetoric and does not come soon enough.”

They estimated that installing low-carbon heating systems such as a heat pump could help slash energy bills of an average household by around £500 once the Government’s £3,000 Energy Price Guarantee is rolled out in Paril.

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Mr Fox argued that the building industry was still being hampered by decades of “stop-start government policies” in areas such as domestic energy efficiency improvements.

He said: “As well as the obvious financial and climate benefits of speeding up investment in this area, the government should consider the significant job creation opportunities and wider economic benefits it would deliver.”

He believed that aside from the upfront cost of the heat pump, another major challenge In ramping up its roll out is the overall complexity in applying for grants that incentivise heat pump use.

He said: “Financial support needs to be more generous, more ambitious, and simpler to access. This would help the government address three of its biggest challenges simultaneously: The cost of living, climate change and energy security.”

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