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Bummer: The UK Is Having A Tough Time Forcing People To Switch To Heat Pumps

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It’s not like they are a lot more expensive than natural gas and electricity home and water heating units, right? Why aren’t all the Warmists rushing out to get them?

The UK is sabotaging its own plan to decarbonize heating

Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) are seen as a crucial tool in the fight against climate change; one that the UK has decided to loudly champion. The technology, which can provide hot water and space heating for homes, is far more efficient that the natural gas systems it’s intended to replace. In November 2020, the country announced a target of 600,000 heat pump installations, per year, by 2028. But the way that the UK currently funds its renewable energy projects means that, for many, adopting a heat pump is not financially viable.


And these devices, which use electricity rather than gas to run, are significantly more energy efficient than traditional electric heating. “Heating your home is between 60 to-70 percent of your energy bill,” says Matt Clemow, CEO of Igloo Energy. But some heat pumps, including the one that Clemow has in his own home, are significantly more energy-efficient than natural gas.

There are, however, challenges to heat pumps, including the fact that they require a very different operation pattern to traditional gas boilers. Because they output a lower temperature, they need to run continuously. “You generally don’t have that on-off period in the same way,” said Clemow, “it’s more background heat.” This is, broadly, how most air conditioning systems work, something that very few Brits use at home.

What’s providing the electricity?

Because of the different climates and energy mixes, it’s not easy to map the European situation onto the American one. The federal government does, however, offer a $300 tax credit for householders who install Energy Star-certified ASHPs, offering more generous discounts for ground source heat pumps like Alphabet’s Dandelion, which draw and circulate heat from underground. Individual states offer their own incentives, dependent on the system you install and the applicant’s income.

$300, you American folks! $300!

But encouraging householders to make the switch from their natural gas-fired boilers is going to be difficult. The initial cost is far higher than the price of just installing a new gas-fired boiler, which will put off many would-be adopters. Then, there is the way the UK structures its energy levies, with a far greater burden on electricity over natural gas. Charges levied onto the sale of electricity in the UK include paying for the cost of the country’s smart meter rollout, bankrolling renewable energy projects and offering cash incentives for people to adopt home energy efficiency technologies.

Far higher

A new heat pump can cost between $3,875 to $7,625 depending on the size of your home, energy efficient ratings, brand name, and the type of heat pump you install. A mini split ductless heat pump with 4 multi zone indoor air handler units could cost up to $10,000 to install. 

You can get an electric or gas one installed for much less. In pure fairness, a heat pump is vastly more efficient that an electric or gas furnace/water heater. But, you are pretty much having to replace the one already there that you already paid for. Back to original article

The sales pitch for many clean(er) technologies often focuses on the total cost of ownership being dramatically lower, even if the initial outlay is higher. If you’ve ever spoken to a Tesla owner, you’ll likely have heard about how little each vehicle costs to run. Similarly, when speaking with solar panel installers, the talk is often about how much money you stand to make (or at least save) compared to your existing solution. That conversation, says Clemow, is the wrong way to sell people on the future of heat pumps.

Well, yeah, because most people cannot afford Teslas, and most people don’t have $10k or more lying around to put in solar panels that will most likely never repay themselves.

And, on the financial side, Lord says that the UK needs to look at ways to tax the carbon use of natural gas, with rebates available for the poorest. But he added that it’s not just the running costs that need examination, but how these retrofit projects are financed in general. He compared the average price of a mortgage, currently under 3 percent, with consumer bank loans, which are often three times more expensive. “If you could fund your heat pump purchase for one and a half percent, rather than nine, that would change the economics quite significantly.”

If Brits don’t comply, they’ll just be taxed out the ying yang. Which is already happening for electricity. I’m not against them: just like with EVs, it should be a choice, not government Forcing people to comply.


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