The future of low carbon heating received a boost recently, with the announcement that Clean Heat Grants are planned as a replacement for the RHI scheme which is due to be phased out in March 2022.
In a wide-ranging package of proposals aimed at accelerating the much-needed decarbonisation of the UK’s heating systems, one of the most eye-catching plans was the proposal to replace RHI with Clean Heat Grants of up to £4,000 for heat pumps and other renewable technologies.
Under the proposed scheme, capital grants from the Treasury would help address the potential barrier to adoption created by the relatively high upfront cost of heat pumps and other green technologies. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS),
This scheme will help deliver the phase out of high carbon fossil fuel heating, whilst also boosting confidence in these low carbon technologies and supply chains.
The introduction of this scheme really emphasises the importance of renewable heat in the continued fight against climate change and is most welcome as a longer term replacement for the RHI, but it is also important to note that the RHI scheme is still applicable until March 2022 (for domestic applications) which provides financial support for renewable heat installations over 7 years. This scheme represents excellent longer term savings, so if you are considering replacing your current boiler and want to reduce emissions you should take advantage now.
What is a heat pump?
In simple terms, a heat pump is a device that transfers heat from an external source (such as the heat in the ground or air) to another location (such as the hot water system or central heating in a house). For example, air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water in your home or business premises.
Heat pumps represent the most efficient alternative to oil, LPG and electric systems for both heating and cooling. Mains gas boilers do a relative good job, rated close to 98 per cent efficient, however they do not represent a long term solution from a carbon footprint aspect. An air source heat pump system will help to lower your carbon footprint as it uses a renewable, natural source of heat – air. Also, in comparison to fossil fuel boilers, heat pumps are vastly superior in terms of efficiency. They supply more heating than the amount of electricity used to run them. A properly designed and installed heat pump will regularly attain more than 300% efficiency.
For more information about heat pumps, click here.
Supporting a Green Recovery
In the light of recent disruption to the UK economy in the wake of COVID-19, these developments are good news for a potential pathway to a positive green recovery. As the Government’s advisor, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has stated:
“The 29 million existing homes across the UK must be made low-carbon, low-energy and resilient in a changing climate. This is a UK infrastructure priority and should be supported by HM Treasury. Homes should use low-carbon sources of heating such as heat pumps and heat networks.”
Before the current global crisis hit, experts in this field were already claiming that the installation of heat pumps in the UK would experience a rapid growth in the coming years, mostly driven by the efficiency ratings and complimented by the RHI tariff. But now, with a noticeable shift in public opinion and awareness of environmental issues, along with the additional help provided by the proposed Clean Heat Grants, we believe there will be significant growth in the size of the heat pump industry in the UK. That is not only engaging UK companies, but also foreign companies (most of them very experienced ones from continental Europe) that will help to create jobs, raise standards and contribute to a more dynamic heating market, whilst simultaneously reducing the country’s emissions and improving air quality and health throughout the UK.