Heat pumps: Eye-watering £11,000 costs in France blow hole in ‘nonsense’ UK plans

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The Government plans to roll out 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 under its Boiler Upgrade Scheme. Heat pumps are a low-carbon alternatives for heating homes which the Government are banking on to replace hundreds of thousands of gas boilers as it scrambles to reach to net zero. But while staggering installation costs of around £10,000 on average are perhaps putting off potential buyers from purchasing the alternatives in the UK, in France, it appears to be a different story.

Costing around £11,000 on average in France, the country installed 537,000 heat pumps last year.

But in Britain, only 50,000 units were sold.

According to Mike Foster, head of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, this suggests that higher volumes do not slash costs, presenting a challenge to the Government’s current target.

He said: The French have blown a hole in UK government policy. 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.”

Mr Foster went on: “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.”

And Mr Foster urged the Government to think of a different way to heat homes using cleaner technology.

He said: “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.”

But according to a report by UK-based analyst Cambridge Econometrics, done in association with European Climate Foundation, relying on green hydrogen rather than heat pumps could double energy bills across Europe.

European Climate Foundation said: “The larger the uptake of heat pumps, the greater the socio-economic benefits.

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“Heat pumps are a highly efficient heating technology, which reduces the energy bills of households and improves Europe’s energy independence.

“A large deployment of heat pumps (both in individual heating systems and in district heating networks) and a high renovation rate can halve households’ energy bills in 2050.

“Hydrogen boilers lead to higher energy bills as they are much less energy efficient than heat pumps, requiring up to six times more renewable electricity.”

BEIS has been contacted for comment.

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