Opinion

Heat pump industry: GHG can’t be turned off like a tap

Heat Pump Federation and Ground Source Heat Pump Association are concerned over rumours the Green Homes Grant may be scrapped in the forthcoming Budget

Whilst the Green Homes Grant has come in for a great deal of criticism, and has struggled to attract installers, partly because of the terms and conditions, and partly because of the apparent failings in its administration, the scheme has successfully raised consumer awareness of heat pump technology to a level that no other intervention to date has achieved.

Laura Bishop, chair of the GSHPA: “On this basis alone, the HPF and GSHPA were delighted that a second full financial year had been announced and have been working with officials in BEIS to improve take up amongst their members. In our opinion, it would be entirely feasible to improve the scheme and to see deployment numbers rise significantly as a result.”

The heat pump industry is determined to meet the Government’s ambition for the deployment of 600,000 heat pump systems per annum by 2028, as set out in the Prime Minister’s recent 10-Point Plan, and as encouraged in both the Energy White Paper and in the recent consultation response from MHCLG on the Future Homes Standard.

Achieving this level of growth requires very significant private investment in both capacity and training and skills. Our industry is working very hard on both. However, private investment requires a stable and long term policy environment. Capacity and training cannot be turned on and off like a tap. Very short term support schemes, and decisions to drop them at even shorter notice, are not conducive to us attracting the levels of private funding required to ween the sector off taxpayer support.

The GSHPA and HPF encourage Ministers at BEIS to ask the Chancellor to retain the Green Homes Grant, and to either roll over unspent funds into 2021-22, or to otherwise increase the second year budget. In addition, BEIS and the Treasury are asked to work directly with the heat pump industry to review and reform the scheme’s terms and conditions so that many more of our members will see the merit in supporting it with increased rates of registration with Trustmark.

Bean Beanland of the HPF said: “it is clear that, under the appropriate commercial conditions, uptake in participation by installers will climb, awareness and demand from the public is there to be serviced and we see very little evidence of homeowners not wanting heat pump engineers in their homes as a result of the pandemic. As with all government interventions, give the industry an extended period of stable policy and the heat pump sector will deliver growth, training and secure new employment.”