Industry calls for end to distorted market

Members of the renewables industry have today called publicly on the government to end what it calls ‘distortions in the commercial market for renewable heating’ by allowing air to water heat pumps to compete on equal terms with other sources of renewable heat.

A coalition has been formed by the Micropower Council, the Heat Pumps Association, BEAMA and the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council to jointly lobby climate change minister Greg Barker. The alliance calls on the government to honour an existing timetable for introducing a renewable heat tariff for air to water heat pumps this October.

Dave Sowden, chief executive of Micropower Council, said: “We have confirmed with officials that the minister (Greg Barker) has no legal reason why he cannot proceed this October without a further consultation – he now has more evidence on air to water heat pumps than any of the technologies already benefitting from RHI.

“All we want is a level playing field for all renewable heating solutions, and the minister has not supplied any justifiable reason to continue with a serious and harmful market distortion in what should now be a flourishing commercial heating market.”

Tony Bowen, president of the Heat Pump Association, said: “We have long sought the inclusion of air source heat pumps to rank alongside ground source heat pumps as vital links in progress towards a low carbon economy. DECC needs to take prompt steps to end this market distortion.”

Kelly Butler, marketing director of BEAMA, said: “Successive governments have stated their aim to grow a sustainable renewable heat industry but the current RHI phase 1 is effectively stifling any sustainable growth for air source heat pumps by excluding what is a valid renewable heat technology.”

Roger Webb, director of Heating & Hotwater Industry Council, added: “There is no logic in continuing to exclude air to water heat pumps from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. It does create confusion why some technologies are included and others are not.”