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Heat pump sales declining in Euro/Nordic countries

BELGIUM: Despite a strong start, heat pumps sales have shrunk in some European and Nordic countries this year, according to new data from the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA).

The analysis of sales in ten countries – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – over the first nine months of 2023 show that, in most cases, sales of space and hot water heat pumps have been declining after a good first quarter. 

The only country whose 2023 sales are consistently higher than in 2022 is Germany, which has seen a 92% increase in sales over the first nine months to 359,442. Even here, though, the quarterly sales increases have been declining as the year progresses.

Unit sales in the Netherlands are up 47% on the same period in 2022 to 132,235, while sales in Austria and Norway are up 14% and 13%, respectively.

The other Nordic countries have seen sales declines so far this year, according to the EHPA. Finland is down 37%, Denmark down 25% and Sweden down 5%. 

On average in the ten countries analysed, the third quarter 2023 sees a sales decline of 14% compared to 2022.

The EHPA describes the drop as “part of an alarming trend” that puts reaching Europe’s decarbonisation targets at risk. 

“It also jeopardises the €7bn of investments announced by heat pump and component manufacturers for the building and renovating of production facilities from 2022 to 2025,” the EHPA says in a statement.

The association blames the declining sales on “ambiguous communication from policy-makers” as well as changing government policies and subsidies, creating uncertainty amongst consumers. 

“The drop is also due to fossil gas prices falling, while the price of electricity – which is used by most heat pumps – remains unchanged, making heat pumps less financially attractive to operate,” the EHPA says.

It calls for these points to be addressed in the European Commission’s upcoming heat pump action plan – due to be published in early 2024.

Heat pump units sold per country and quarter 2022-2023 so far (includes heat pumps for space heating and hot water)

“National governments should likewise propose solutions to these issues in their national energy and climate plans and work in particular on making energy taxation more balanced, phasing out fossil subsidies and reducing the burden of electricity from taxes and levies.”

EHPA secretary general Thomas Nowak added: “Heat pumps are the most cost-efficient, climate-neutral way of heating and cooling, yet consumers see them as expensive and an uncertain bet. Policy-makers need to correct this by committing unambiguously to heat pump technologies and by establishing favourable economic conditions for the cleanest heating solution available. As an immediate measure, policy must aim at reducing the cost of electricity for residential, commercial and industrial applications. It should not be more than twice the price of fossil gas.”

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