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Industry calls for clarity on heat pump policies

GERMANY: Industry groups in Europe are calling for clear heat pump policies at both national and European level in order to shift to clean energy.

The intervention comes amid concerns that politicians may be wavering on the promise to transition away from gas heating.

It point to recent tensions within the German government over phasing out fossil fuel heating which have escalated to EU level. This has fuelled fears that this could heavily water down EU efforts to ensure “clean” heating for the whole continent. 

The industry representatives have issued a statement to urge clear policies for heat pumps in order to support the European net zero sector in which €5bn worth of investment is planned over just three years.

In a joint statement with NGO and industry partners, the European Heat Pump Association, representing close to 200 organisations in the sector, said: “One of the key measures to honour these investments and secure further investments in our industry in Europe is the need for long-term policy clarity both at EU and national level including significant limitations on the sales of boilers”.  

Andreas Scholz, head of sales at Data Ahead, an organisation supporting heat pump manufacturers scale-up, confirmed that the uncertainty was already having a concrete impact.

“For the past 2 years, companies have been racing to keep up with the EU’s high ambitions, and the market has massively expanded. But now I see examples of companies reducing their orders on manufacturing lines, or deciding to rent a plant rather than building, because of the mixed signals from politicians,” he said.

He insisted that manufacturers need a reliable policy framework and clarity about the future demand for heat pumps, to carry out their investments. “Instead, politicians have first been proposing new policies that provide a clear market path but then casting doubts about these policies, or worse, retracting them. It means manufacturers are not making the strategic long-term investments that are required.”

While the heat pump market grew by 39% in 2022, the industry argues that the growth needs to speed up even more to meet Europe’s goal to decarbonise heating by 2050. This, they claim, is only achievable through a stable long term policy framework in favour of “clean” heat. Too many current policies still favour fossil fuels in subsidies and taxation, they argue.

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