The UK government has announced the scheme which will be replacing the Green Home Grant and will be available from April 2022. The government has faced pressure from the public and environmental organisations on how they will reduce carbon emissions over the next couple of decades. According to the BBC, under the new scheme “homeowners in England and Wales will be offered subsidies of £5,000 from next April to help them to replace old gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps.” However, prior to this it is expected that households will need to upgrade the current energy efficiency of their homes, such as adding insulation, which is an added cost.
Will it be enough?
Heating buildings is a large contributing factor to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, making up a fifth of overall emissions. The government hopes that this incentive will result in no new gas boilers being sold by 2035. This has been criticised however, with experts saying that the budget is too low and the strategy isn’t ambitious enough. Whilst ministers are claiming that the incentive will make heat pumps a more attractive option, with the price being comparable to that of a new gas boiler. However, the £450m budget for the subsidies will only cover a maximum of 90,000 heat pumps. Bear in mind that the government has said that they are aiming to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028, having only 90,000 subsidised by 2025 will be nowhere near this goal.
£3.9b is being invested in the overall incentive to decarbonise buildings by 2035, with £450m attributed to subsidies. In addition to this, the government hopes to cut emissions in half by 2035, a goal which Johnny Marshal, senior economist of the Resolution Foundation, a think tank focusing on poverty has said would certainly be a struggle. According to the BBC, “Currently an air source heat pump costs between £6,000 and £18,000, depending on the type installed and the size of a property.” which begs the question how a subsidy of £5,000 will be enough.
Two primary funding sources for this scheme will have the following aims:
- £3.45b to decarbonise buildings in England and Wales including social housing and district heating schemes.
- £60m to drive technological innovation to develop clean heating systems that are smaller, easier to install and cheaper to run. This money will come from a previously announced innovation fund (BBC).
With hopes that investment in technology will reduce the cost of the systems themselves. Mike Childs, Head of science at Friends of the Earth, has said that “technical innovation plus skills training is a part of this, but so is scale. These grants will only incentivise the best-off households.” With criticism that the best off households would not need the funding regardless, whilst it may encourage those considering the alternative heating systems already, it won’t reach new audiences as it is still an unaffordable cost for many, even with the subsidies.
The likelihood of reaching these targets have been heavily criticised, and according to Robert Harrabin, Environment Analyst for the BBC:
“Energy experts say that simply won’t happen unless he provides much wider incentives for people to insulate their homes and to buy heat pumps to replace their gas boilers.
One group of researchers estimates that to meet his net zero targets he needs to invest nearly another £10bn over three years.”
However, this is certainly a step in the right direction. Smaller property owners who have not been able to consider an alternative heating system previously can now consider a heat pump installation, the £5,000 subsidy could really make a difference to some. The criticism is that it will not be enough of an incentive for the majority, and will not make switching to renewable heating an option to enough people to make the difference.
Switch to renewable heating today
Here at Heat Different, we’re pleased to see the government’s investment in heat pumps, and this is certainly a step in the right direction. We’re committed to providing renewable heating systems for a greener, cleaner future. Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do, and we believe that it’s important to provide expert air source and ground source heat pump installation to make a difference to the environment. Heat pumps can save on your overall energy bills, and reduce your carbon footprint by up to 50%. We hope that the government will make greater pledges in the near future, but this is certainly a good start. If you’re looking for a heat pump installation and want to take advantage of the new incentive, it will be available from April next year. If you have any questions about the scheme or whether a heat pump is right for you, then be sure to get in touch with us on 01603 406052 and a member of our team will be happy to advise. Switch to renewable heating today, and contribute to a greener future. Heat efficiently, heat sustainably, heat differently.