“Stop using facts in your argument Foster!”

16th Oct 2023


It won’t be long before this is actually said, perhaps not as starkly, but reluctantly.

I have said, repeatedly in this blog, that all three technologies are going to be needed to decarbonise homes – heat networks, heat pumps and hydrogen boilers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be understood. It’s almost as if some people are running frightened of this prospect. And I can’t understand why, if it helps get to net zero, all technologies should be ruled in not out.

But the allegation levelled is that I am anti-heat pump. As Chair of Affordable Warmth Solutions I have literally signed the contracts to fund 12,300 heat pump installations, of which nearly 6,000 are already in homes, so I find the accusation galling. But apparently, I am anti-heat pumps.

The other week one energy retailer claimed they were the first to offer a free heat pump to households, if they qualified for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme subsidy. Sorry to prick that bubble, but we’ve been doing that for a while – and without the taxpayer subsidy. Offering low income households free heat pump installations somehow makes me anti-heat pump.

Last week, to try and drive up the number of households who can get a free heat pump I asked both the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero and the Minister, Lord Callanan, to repost a social media message on behalf of the organisation that carries out this work. Neither could be bothered to reply, but I’m anti-heat pump apparently.

So direct from the horse’s mouth, here it is. I don’t think any single heating technology will deliver net zero; heat pumps will be needed in their millions, as will hydrogen boilers. I don’t belong to the “all-electric lobby” whose fundamentalism puts at risk the achievement of net zero and yes, I put consumer interest front and centre of the debate. Over the coming weeks, following the Prime Minister’s net zero re-set, I suspect more evidence will emerge that promoting a range of technologies is the best way forward. And when it does, expect some to claim that it is anti-heat pump. Facts are often the ‘inconvenient truth’.

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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