EUA says French findings 'at odds' with UK policy

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03 August 2022
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Mike Foster, CEO of EUA

Evidence of heat pump costs for French consumers is at odds with UK government policy, a leading energy trade body has claimed. Mike Foster, chief executive of Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), believes the findings render UK heat decarbonisation plans “useless” and calls for a Government re-set.

Current government policy indicates that heat pump costs will fall by 25-50% 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 £1500.

The Heat and Building Strategy, published in October 2021, suggests that increasing volumes of UK heat pump installations will bring costs down. Some claims suggest heat pumps could be reduced to £1000 a unit, but evidence presented by EUA challenges this argument.

According to the EUA findings, heat pump installations in France average £11,000, similar to the UK figure, but last year 537,000 heat pumps were sold in France, compared to 50,000 units in the UK. This suggests that higher volumes do not reduce costs and presents a challenge to current UK policy.

Mike Foster 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.”

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“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% 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.”