Renewables sector dismisses OFTEC report

Nottingham-based Hybrid Heating Systems has criticised a recent report by OFTEC which questions the suitability of renewables in rural areas.

The independant research, commissioned by OFTEC, compared several renewable technologies including biomass and heat pumps with oil-fired boilers in off-gas areas. It concluded that, due to high installation costs, the cost of switching away from an oil-fired boiler to renewable technologies was hard to justify.

It also argued that, in some cases, running costs would increase as an air source heat pump would add over £300 to annual fuel bills when compared to oil.

Commenting on the research, OFTEC’s director-general Jeremy Hawksley said: “The research we commissioned shows the technologies that are likely to be incentivised through the forthcoming domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will not deliver the promised carbon savings in a real life situation, and could end up increasing fuel bills rather than saving householders money.”

Hybrid Heating Systems has rejected the findings pointing to the positive experiences had by two of its customers who were previously using oil-fired heating systems before opting for air source heat pumps.

Tim Bennett, Hybrid Heating’s operation director, said: “When Trevor (customer 1) realised he was spending over £700 a year on oil to heat his two-bedroomed home in Raglan, Monmouthshire, he turned to Hybrid Heating. Trevor says he has noticed a difference already. His house seems to be heated more evenly as previously the bedrooms and study were not normally heated. His advice to anyone considering installing an air source heat pump would be to go for it.”

He added: “Mark (customer 2) realised he was spending over £2,500 a year on oil to heat his family home in Oxton, Nottinghamshire. One year on from installation, Mark says the results have been eye-opening. Having read his heat pump watt meter, it showed his family have used 11,475 KW hours of electricity since installation and only used £200 of oil. He has spent just over £1,000 on electricity for the period, which is a fantastic saving.”