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MPs to consider pros and cons of heat pumps

UK: The UK government’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is to consider the merits and drawbacks of rolling out electrical, gas and hybrid heat pumps. 

The Committee on Climate Change has said that 19 million heat pumps will need to be installed to meet commitment to reach net-zero by 2050 and the Prime Minister has spoken on the role of ground-source heat pumps in the “green industrial revolution”. Also, in a recent report, 80% of Climate Assembly UK members agreed that heat pumps should play a role in getting the UK to net-zero.

However, the EAC recognises that there are current limitations to rolling out the technology. For example, heat pumps are currently more expensive that conventional options such as gas-fired boilers. It also points to last week’s report by the UK Energy Research Centre of record sales of gas boilers last year and its estimate that it will take 700 years for the UK to move to low-carbon heating. It also says that electrical grids would also need to be significantly expanded to facilitate the extra capacity that electric heat pumps would require.

“Heat pumps are playing an increasingly significant role in decarbonising heat in other countries. I look forward to the Committee examining why this has yet to take off across the UK, hearing from the sector on whether rolling out heat pumps is feasible at scale and what barriers exist to wider adoption. We hope our findings can help inform the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy as it pioneers the course of the new Green Industrial Revolution,” said Environmental Audit Committee chairman Philip Dunne. 

The Environmental Audit Committee will be considering these issues, and more, before sharing its findings and recommendations with government on the role heat pumps can play in reaching net-zero.

The Committee is inviting written submissions to inform its forthcoming evidence session. In particular it is seeking opinions on what steps the Government can take to increase uptake of heat pumps, what can be done to lower heat pump installation costs, how the government could tackle the current skills gap for designers, builders and installers of heat pumps, and ways to raise public awareness of heat pumps. 

Further information here.

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