There’s no hiding the impact of bad policy

4th Jul 2022


A week or so ago, BEIS were asked to divulge the data from the major heat pump trial they are undertaking. The Electric Systems Catapult (my term) are running the trial on behalf of the Government. No numbers were given, just a promise that a report would come out in due course (totally without any massaging, honest).

But a report did surface last week that called into question the value of the RHI because of the performance of heat pumps in the scheme. The report suggested that “estimated” performance levels were not seen in the real world. The report also highlighted that the Climate Change Committee had also downgraded its assumptions of the efficiency levels of heat pumps.

Now this drew the heat pump lobby industry to the conclusion that it was all the fault of the installer. Given the report highlighted higher efficiency levels obtained in Europe, it added credence to this view. However, it should be pointed out that homes in Europe do differ in terms of their relative energy efficiency. So perhaps it is not just the installation that is the problem.

Those commenting on the report varied in their conclusion. Some argued that performance levels of 3.0 should be achieved as a minimum (currently the Boiler Upgrade Scheme has a lower 2.8 figure). Even with record high gas prices a level of just over 3.0 is required for a heat pump to achieve running cost parity with a boiler (ignoring any capital costs).

Some, rightly, made the call that the RHI had failed to deliver higher levels of performance, compared to early adopters of the technology. They even go as far as calling the RHI a “waste of money”.

My additional concern is that these schemes reward those who have the affluence to invest, taking advantage of the cashback. When the money comes from general taxation, it is a highly regressive form of intervention. The heat pump lobby never mention it, but as the cost of living crisis really bites, there should be no hiding place for bad policy.

Best Wishes

Mike Foster, CEO

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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