Evidence of heat pump costs for French consumers calls into question UK heat decarbonisation plans, according to chief executive of Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), Mike Foster.
Current government policy suggests heat pump costs will fall by 25-50 per cent by 2025 and reach parity with a gas boiler by 2030. The average heat pump costs around £10,000 to install compared to a combi-boiler replacement of £1,500.
The Heat and Building Strategy, published in October 2021 suggests that increasing volumes of UK heat pump installations will bring costs down.
However, the EUA has discovered that in France the average heat pump install is £11,000, similar to the UK figure, even though last year 537,000 heat pumps were sold in France, compared to 50,000 units in the UK.
Commenting on the findings, Mr Foster said: “The French experience shows that higher volumes of heat pump sales does not massively reduce their cost. Just across the channel we have real word experience, 537,000 heat pumps fitted last year, at a similar cost to that experienced in the UK, with our 50,000 sales.”
“Heat pumps are a globally traded product, why would they be cheaper in the UK than France?
“It’s time for the new PM, whoever that is, to press the re-set button. And it’s time to urgently get our gas networks converted to hydrogen, keeping UK homes affordably warm without damaging the climate.”
No great surprise that the UK government has got the wrong strategy on costs. That doesn't make it the wrong energy strategy though. Unless you make boilers the case for wholesale conversion to H2 makes little sense in either cost or carbon terms. Recent data shows that improving building energy effciency boosts value by up to 5% per EPC grade. By taking a Fabric First approach and reducing heat loss through conduction or permeability a heat pump system will make economic sense - especially if you look at life cycle cost and use CO2 as a refrigerant. The sums are wrong, not the science behind it.
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