Heat pumps not yet ready for the mass market, admits Government’s climate tsar

Speaking at an Onward think tank event, Mr. Stark said, “I don’t think heat pumps are mass market ready now. But they could be, and that’s the most important thing.

“The modeling very strongly indicates its importance in this transition because it uses the green electricity that I talked about in my discussion and it is also very efficient. But they are very expensive right now. I think it doesn’t make sense to duck in front of it. “

Some properties, such as those that are off-grid, are particularly suitable for short-term use of a heat pump, while others may use hydrogen and others are likely to become part of “district heating networks” where multiple properties rely on a central power plant.

Currently, consumer electricity bills are inflated due to environmental and social charges, while gas bills are much lower, which is pushing activists and industry groups to change ministers because it makes cleaner electricity more expensive.

Mr. Stark added, “The cost policy for decarbonization is largely dependent on the electricity bill, which is a slightly counter-intuitive policy. We urge people to pay more for what they are supposed to use. So we have to shift that balance from electricity to fossil fuels that we don’t want to use. “

“Unpleasant” cost debate

The up-front cost for air source heat pumps is currently around £ 10,000 higher than gas boilers compared to £ 1,500 to £ 3,500 for a gas boiler, while running costs are similar due to the artificially high price of electricity.

Older homes are also likely to need additional insulation, underfloor heating, and larger radiators to keep them warm enough. Approximately every fifth house is suitable for the installation of a heat pump without adaptation.

A government strategy with plans for greener home heating is due to be presented in the coming weeks, but an official date has not yet been announced.

The Climate Change Committee is an independent body that acts as the official advisor to the government on net zero.

Mr Stark said that some aspects of the debate on the cost of decarbonization had been “quite uncomfortable” for members of the committee, adding: “I think you must welcome the debate that is now going on over the cost of it, and if this results “at lower cost, then everyone benefits.”

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