Heat Pumps – The heat is on!

Phil Hurley, managing director of NIBE UK commented; “The annual total for installations is 30,000 currently, so a massive ramp up is needed as well as up-skilling of existing plumbers and heating engineers to achieve the numbers needed for net zero targets.”

It represents a massive challenge to the industry but there is an appetite for it as Phil confirms;
“It’s not insurmountable and I’m ready to take it on.”

Chair of the GSHPA, Laura Bishop welcomed the pledge as a vital step to reaching net zero, but voiced concerns over the need for continued training and investment to see it come to fruition.

“I am pleased to see ground and water heat pumps figure so prominently in the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan. Increased deployment of heat pumps in homes and businesses is vital if the UK is to deliver net zero. It will provide a massive stimulus to job creation across the country. Working with the Government, investment in training and skills development will be hugely necessary to achieve this massive change.”

It was a statement echoed by Bean Beanland of the Heat Pump Federation, who also stressed the need for manufacturers to up their output and the government to improve dialogue with the consumer.

“The heavy lifting must start now to ramp up the manufacture of heat pumps in the UK and their increased deployment in people’s homes up and down the country. Working in partnership with Government, there is also a job to do to communicate the benefits of heat pumps to consumers.”

Too ambitious?

Renewable energy industry expert, Tim Pollard, has all too often seen ambitious statements subsequently reversed or reduced.

“600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028? This will require a very substantial training programme for installers and a massive commitment by the entire industry. Will this ‘pledge’ be binding? It’s very easy to make these statements and then singularly fail to deliver them. I would be more impressed if this was accompanied by a legal commitment to make it happen.”

Similarly, while Covid-19 continues to hobble the industry, is it even possible to deliver these targets? Prior to Johnson’s announcement, REI spoke with Steve Alldritt, technical director of Travis Perkins’ Energy Efficiency, Renewable & Commercial Team, who stated that orders from the Green Homes Grant alone are already putting significant strain on the supply chain.

“It’s crazy! Demand is outstripping supply and because of social distancing guidelines, heat pump manufacturers simply aren’t able to offer the same output.”

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