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Why Britain is so bad at heat pumps

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on the Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The UK's inconsistent approach to promoting heat pumps, a clean energy alternative for home heating, is under scrutiny
• Sunak announced what he claimed to be "one of the most generous schemes in Europe," offering a £7,500 subsidy to homeowners that could make heat pumps cheaper than a gas boiler
• At the same time, the government has moved away from net zero targets, which threatens the heat pump industry

🔭 The context: With a historical reliance on a vast gas network developed after discovering North Sea gas, the UK has faced challenges in pivoting towards fossil-free heating solutions, such as heat pumps
• The UK's heat pump sales last year were only 1.9 per 1,000 households, placing the nation last among 20 European countries

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Efficient heating systems can significantly reduce carbon emissions from buildings
• Countries that adopt effective heat pump policies can significantly reduce their carbon footprint

⏭️ What's next: The new subsidies for heat pumps may accelerate meager heat pump sales in the UK so far but the government’s long-term strategy for net zero goals will be essential

💬 One quote: "To begin with, the UK lost the plot on encouraging fossil-free heating in newly built homes. These measures were critical for a country that... had developed a large gas network." (Pilita Clark, journalist)

📈 One stat: The UK recorded only 72,000 heat pump installations in the last year, which is significantly below Boris Johnson's government's target of 600,000 annual installations by 2028

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