Evidence for heat-pump price drop fails to add up

Spread the love

By Paul Homewood

h/t Jack Broughton

This article appeared in The Engineer this week:

The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has analysed the French heat pump market where
installations average £11,000, a figure similar to installing a heat pump in the UK.
EUA point out that in 2021, 537,000 heat pumps were sold in France compared to 50,000 units
in the UK, suggesting that higher volumes do not reduce costs and presents a challenge to
current UK policy.

In Britain, the average heat pump costs around £10,000 to install compared to a combi-boiler
replacement of £1500. The Heat and Building Strategy, published in October 2021 suggests
that increasing volumes of UK heat pump installations will bring costs down.

Mike Foster, EUA chief executive, believes this new evidence renders UK heat decarbonisation plans
“useless” and calls for a government re-set.
“The French have blown a hole in UK government policy,” Foster said in a statement. “Their experience
shows that higher volumes of heat pump sales does not massively reduce their cost. The forecasted
reductions, claimed by BEIS, are simply numbers plucked from thin air. 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.”

Foster added: “Heat pumps are a globally traded product, why would they be cheaper in the UK than
France? It’s complete nonsense to suggest they would. Once you debunk this myth, the whole UK heat
and buildings strategy falls apart. It now needs an urgent re-set.

“Boris Johnson set a target of 600,000 heat pumps by 2028; cost reductions of 25-50 percent by 2025;
parity with a gas boiler by 2030. In doing so, he has thrown public money at subsidies, he has scrapped
VAT on heat pumps, he threatens to fine boiler manufacturers if they fail to meet his targets. But his own
advisory body have warned that heat pump running costs are higher than a gas boiler and now these
mythical costs reductions are shown to be just that, a myth.

“It’s time for the new PM, whoever that is, to press the re-set button. It’s time to admit the previous policy
was just hot air. And it’s time to urgently get our gas networks converted to hydrogen, keeping UK
homes affordably warm without damaging the climate.”

It is of course spot on. Heat pumps are already mass produced for the European market, and not just for France. Norway, for instance, also has large numbers installed.

Moreover, heat pumps are not “new technology”. There is no reason whatsoever to suggest that prices will fall significantly.

As I have said before, let the manufacturers put their money where there mouth is. If they think they can produce heat pumps at the cost of a gas boiler, and they believe that they are cheaper to run, then invest in a large scale manufacturing plant and prove it.

Don’t expect to rely on subsidies and bans.


AUGUST 4, 2022

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.