'Replacing oil with oil is not the answer'

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Published: 03 July 2017


Heat pump manufacturer NIBE UK has called on the government to push forward with its stated ambition to reduce the use of coal and oil in buildings in the wake of a report from oil heating industry trade association OFTEC.

The report recommends policy incentives to encourage the replacement of existing oil boilers with more efficient oil fuelled models, while suggesting that at some point in the future biofuels will replace heating oil. It also argues that technologies such as heat pumps are not cost effective or market ready for widespread deployment.
But NIBE UK Managing Director Phil Hurley said: "Replacing oil with oil will not address the higher carbon and air pollution emissions from these heating systems in the off-grid market, instead these systems will continue to spout out pollution for the next 20 years. In off-grid areas there are sustainable alternatives such as heat pumps which provide clean, green energy.  

"NIBE will continue working in close collaboration with policy stakeholders to realise the potential of heat pumps in the UK and develop policy that reflects their benefits. As part of this effort, NIBE will develop more detailed analysis on appreciating the risks of promoting an approach that maintains the status quo to heating off gas grid buildings.’ 

Potential
The UK Government in its Heat in Buildings consultation published in 2016 expressed its desire to ‘reduce the use of coal and oil in buildings, and how best to promote a transition away from high fossil fuel heating over the coming decades’. The consultation also highlighted the need to ‘consider which kind of policy interventions could support this change’.

 
NIBE says that all European markets that have successfully unlocked the potential of heat pumps, like Sweden and Austria, have taxed heating oil in line with its high carbon content and promoted the use of heat pumps where it makes most sense like new build and off gas grid properties. Norway recently announced that it will prohibit the use of heating oil by 2020. 
 
The Committee on Climate Change, in its 2017 Report to Parliament, released on 29 June, emphasised the need to increase the delivery of heat pumps in cost effective locations. The committee estimates that at least 2.5 million domestic heat pumps need be installed by 2030 to achieve the fifth carbon carbon budget.