The UK is “drastically falling behind in heat pump deployment” in comparison to other European countries, a new report argues.
Released by charity group MCS Charitable Foundation, the Heat pump rollout in France and the UK comparative analysis report highlights that the UK is six years behind its neighbour in the deployment of heat pumps.
To truly gauge the gulf between the deployment of heat pumps in both countries, MCS states that France installed ten times more heat pumps than the UK in 2022.
This is a concerning statistic for many within the UK industry, particularly when factoring in the UK’s target to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 – just five years away. France has already achieved this landmark having sold 621,000 last year, the UK in comparison sold just 55,000.
To boost UK installation figures, the report argues that “strong government intervention is essential to upscale heat pump deployment”.
“Heat pumps are an extremely efficient technology for cutting carbon and bills, but the UK has so far not capitalised on their potential. With other countries such as France surging ahead, the race is on for the UK to step up,” said David Cowdrey, director of external affairs at MCS Charitable Foundation.
“The Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme and zero-rated VAT on heat pumps have helped set the UK towards rising installations. But we need a much more comprehensive set of policy measures to meet the Government’s targets, including mandating solar and heat pumps for all new build homes, to help create the tens of thousands of jobs we know a thriving heat pump market can support.”
It is important to note how pivotal the French Government has been in spearheading the heat pump revolution in the country. France has had energy efficiency standards for new-build homes for more than a decade with this having accelerated heat pump deployment. Energy efficiency has also been a political priority across different political parties.
In 2019, the Macron government introduced financial incentives that saw a “near-doubling of air-to-water heat pump installations within a year, building on previous incentive schemes”, the report states.
As a result of sustained support for heat pumps, France had more than 30,000 full time jobs in the heat pump industry in 2019, something the UK is attempting to bolster, and increased from 100,000 sales in 2010 to over 600,000 sales by 2022.
Charlotte Lee, chief executive of the Heat Pump Association commented: “The French heat pump market is ten times the size of the UK’s. This report compellingly demonstrates this is due to clear and decisive policy by the French government in exactly the same areas the UK heat pump industry has advocated for years.
“Strict new-build standards, grants that make consumers’ choice for heat pumps compelling, low electricity prices, the building of the installer base, and the phase-out of fossil fuel boilers have been major contributors to France’s success.
“There is still time to meet the UK Government’s target of 600,000 heat pumps installed annually by 2028, but to do so similar swift and decisive action to France is needed – implementation of the Future Homes and Buildings Standards in 2025, setting of clear dates to end the sale of new fossil fuel boilers, reducing electricity prices and improving installer training and standards across the entire heating industry.”