The announcements were made earlier this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs. The plans also include a welcome extension to the Green Homes Grant aimed at making energy efficient improvements in the home.
Since the annoucements were made, several industry bodies and manufacturers have backed the plans.
Energy trade association the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) chief executive Mike Foster said: “The measures that the Prime Minister has outlined to support hydrogen are a significant move towards creating a stable hydrogen economy in the UK. The plans to create a hydrogen town will give investors’ confidence and a clear sense of direction.”
“EUA and its members are poised to help deliver these projects and assist the UK to become a world leader in decarbonisation. We have long advocated for hydrogen to be recognised as having a key role in decarbonising our energy system, and we are pleased that Government now supporting these efforts.”
“The increased commitment towards energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating should also help the industry plan and invest in the future. However, we hope that BEIS will look at the governance of this scheme to make it easier for heating engineers and small companies to access, reducing the red tape would be a good first step.”
Mr Foster added that the extension of the Green Homes Grant was also extremely welcome and should breathe fresh impetus into the scheme.
• The Heat Pump Association (HPA) has also welcomed the plans saying it is good news for the heat pump industry, and has arrived soon after the HPA released its own ground-breaking report outlining the steps that the UK Government must take to shape future policy and decarbonise the heating industry.
Graham Wright, chairman of the HPA, said: “As we have stated in our recent report, there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to the decarbonisation of heat. However, as the Committee on Climate Change has already stressed, heat pumps are an established technology and can provide one of the solutions for an urgent and widespread shift to low carbon heating and must be supported immediately. This plan is therefore welcome news for the heat pump industry as it does appear to agree with our recommendations.”
Mr Wright added: “We also recognise industry’s need to make the required heat pump installation training widely available. This is something the HPA is also committed to and the Government’s plan makes it clear there will be new jobs created in order to help carry out this move to greener technology.”
• BEAMA chief executive Dr Howard Porter said: “I welcome this 10-Point Plan as the most ambitious plan yet to transform the UK energy industry. BEAMA and its 200 members are already helping Government develop the necessary solutions behind these targets.”
“The Plan is a great opportunity to align policy, short term funding cycles and development of standards to ensure compliant and safe products in the market. We welcome the extension of the Green Homes Grant for another year – let’s use this time to demonstrate how to decarbonise all buildings.
“The employment opportunities offered by these plans are potentially significant for both raw numbers of new people working on green initiatives and the upskilling needed to work in these new digital technologies. This is an opportunity for the Government to establish support for the high-level skills needed in our industry and focus its industrial strategy on the electrical green future.”
• Iain Bevan, commercial manager – heating & renewables at eco-technology brand Daikin UK, said: “It’s positive to hear that the energy efficiency of our homes has been considered as part of the government’s 10-Point Green Plan and that the Green Homes Grant will be extended.
“There is a huge opportunity for green jobs as we scale up the installation of renewable heating systems. For the heat pump market alone, we estimate around 17,000 new installers are required to meet the expected demand within the next 10 years.
“It is vital that people are able to acquire the skills and training they desperately need to develop a career in the green sector. We also need to continue to help existing tradespeople – electricians, technicians, engineers and plumbers – to diversify and upskill so that they can futureproof their businesses.
• Darren McMahon, Viessmann UK marketing director said: “This level of focus and investment will be critical if the UK is to be successful in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and particularly in the run up to the COP26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow next year.
“Viessmann especially commends the strong focus of the plan on heating efficiency and decarbonisation. Heating is hard to decarbonise – as evidenced by the limited progress over the past 10 years – and government intervention is key for success. Therefore, we fully support the allocation of £1 billion next year to extend the Green Homes Grant.
“If the heating market is to achieve the level of radical change set out in the plan – 600,000 heat pumps installed every year by 2028 – this type of support for decarbonised and efficient heating is essential.
“We expect the Government will need to follow through with further brave interventions to tighten new build and retrofit regulations for heating systems, as well as a plan to encourage installers to upskill for new technologies. This decade is a make or break period for decarbonisation from heating and the plan sends a positive signal to the market for change.”
• NIBE Energy Systems also welomed the Prime Minister's 10-point plan saying it offered significant optimism to those working across the low carbon heating industry.
“The Green Homes Grant scheme is a much-needed intervention for homeowners and installers and the news of its one-year extension couldn’t have come any sooner.
“The extended timescale will provide industry with further confidence to deliver the Government’s target of 600,000 homes whilst creating thousands of green jobs for the future.”
The company said it was hopeful 'this signal is strong enough to encourage heating installers across the country to retrain and upskill in heat pumps in preparation for the years ahead'.
NIBE said the commitment to rolling out 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028 was a huge step in the right direction considering that just 27,000 heat pumps installed in 2019.
• Simon Lomax, chief executive of the Kensa Group, said: “The target of 600,000 heat pumps per year is encouraging but it is now vital that this Government quickly introduce policies that will allow the supply chain to maintain recent momentum. Over the past 18 months, Kensa has hired 70 additional staff but the planned closure of the non-domestic RHI in March 2021 means there is real risk that social housing clients won’t be able to continue with their ground source heat pump installation programmes.
Kensa has focussed heavily on high rise social housing and it is critical that the Government acts quickly so that some of the most vulnerable in society can benefit from low cost and low carbon heat.”