Plan To Drive Down The Cost Of Clean Heat
Low carbon more efficient heating systems such as heat pumps will be no more expensive – and in many cases may end up cheaper – to buy and run than gas boilers, under government plans.
Through the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the government has set out its plan to incentivise people to install low-carbon heating systems in a simple, fair and cheap way as they come to replace their old boilers over the coming decade. This will significantly reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels and exposure to global price spikes, whilst supporting up to 240,000 jobs across the UK by 2035.
New grants of £5,000 will be available from April next year to encourage homeowners to install more efficient, low carbon heating systems – like heat pumps that do not emit carbon when used – through a new £450m 3-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme. These grants mean people choosing to install a heat pump will pay a similar amount as if they were installing a traditional gas boiler.
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief Policy Director, said:
“£5,000 heat pump grants will help get the ball rolling when it comes to decarbonising homes across the UK. The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy provides a golden opportunity for both the public and private sector to pick up the pace of progress to net zero.
“There’s no doubt that the scale of the challenge is considerable. These welcome measures – including the 2035 phase out of new gas boilers – will help consumers and business better prepare to change the way they heat their homes and buildings.
“Government must now support this valuable work with a clear delivery plan for consumers, businesses and local authorities. The time is now to accelerate low carbon heat and energy efficiency solutions, grow the number of green jobs across the UK, and further support the Government’s net zero ambitions”.
The £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme is part of more than £3.9bn of new funding being announced today by the government for decarbonising heat and buildings. This will fund the next 3 years of investment through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant scheme, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and the Heat Networks Transformation Programme and reducing carbon emissions from public buildings through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
The government and industry will also work together to help meet the aim of heat pumps costing the same to buy and run as fossil fuel boilers by 2030, with big cost reductions of between a quarter and a half by 2025 expected as the market expands and technology develops.
This will support the government’s new target for all new heating systems installed in UK homes by 2035 to be either using low-carbon technologies, such as electric heat pumps, or supporting new technologies like hydrogen-ready boilers, where we are confident we can supply clean, green fuel.
No-one will be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel boilers, with this transition of the next 14 years seeing the UK’s households gradually move away from fossil fuel boilers in an affordable, practical and fair way, enabling homeowners to easily make these green choices when the time comes to replace their old boiler.
The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out how we are taking ‘no-regrets’ action now, particularly on heat pumps, whilst supporting ongoing trials and other research and innovation on our future heating systems, including on hydrogen. We will make a decision on the potential role for hydrogen in heating buildings by 2026, by learning from our Hydrogen Village pilot. Heat pump technology will play a key role in all scenarios, so for those who want to install them now, we are supporting them to do so.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
"Recent volatile global gas prices have highlighted the need to double down on our efforts to reduce Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and move away from gas boilers over the coming decade to protect consumers in long term.
"As the technology improves and costs plummet over the next decade, we expect low carbon heating systems will become the obvious, affordable choice for consumers. Through our new grant scheme, we will ensure people are able to choose a more efficient alternative in the meantime."
Recent volatile gas prices across the world have demonstrated the need for the UK to build a secure, home-grown energy sector which supports households to reduce their reliance on fossils fuels such as using gas boilers, while protecting consumers and businesses from unforeseen price spikes.
Over the coming years, industry leaders expect electric heat pumps will cost the same as gas boilers to buy and run. UK manufacturers are already making electric heat pumps more attractive to consumers and more affordable and the government wants to incentivise consumers to make the switch as quickly as possible.
To ensure electric heat pumps will be no more expensive to run than gas boilers, ministers want to reduce the price of electricity over the next decade by shifting levies away from electricity to gas. A call for evidence is expected to be published with decisions made in 2022.
Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy, said:
"This Heat and Buildings Strategy will help kick-start a cheap clean heating revolution, by bringing prices down for households and allowing companies to invest in scaling up their clean heating operations. When the new scheme launches in April, Octopus Energy will install heat pumps for about the same cost as gas boilers.
"Octopus has already committed £10m investment to its research and development and training centre dedicated to the decarbonisation of heat, and has begun training engineers at the rate of 1,000 per year.
"But this is just the beginning. By scaling up the technology and supply chain in Britain, innovative companies like ours will soon be able to fit and run heat pumps without any government support, bringing us one step closer to making the UK the Silicon Valley of Energy and creating thousands of clean energy jobs throughout the country.
"Electric heat pumps are more efficient, safer and cleaner than gas boilers and can help make homes more comfortable with less energy. Today we’ve crossed a massive milestone in our fight against climate change and to reduce Britain’s reliance on expensive, dirty gas."
To help grow the electric heat pump market and expand British manufacturing, a new £60m Heat Pump Ready innovation programme is being announced, part of the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. The scheme will provide funding to drive technological innovation which will make the systems smaller, easier to install and cheaper to run over the coming years.
Kick-starting Britain’s new heat pump industry is expected to protect and create tens of thousands of new jobs in research and development, production, supply chain and installation over the next decade.
The Heat and Buildings Strategy builds on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, which outlined how decarbonising households and workplaces could support 240,000 jobs across the sector by 2035, with many thousands more into the future in areas such as manufacturing, developing and installing new low-carbon technologies.
With heat in buildings being one of the largest sources of UK carbon emissions, accounting for 21% of the total, there is an urgent need to deliver a mix of new, low-carbon heating solutions to meet our legally-binding target to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.