Energy White Paper: Great green progress on heat pumps, but grey areas remain

Commenting on the announcements by the government in the Energy White Paper, Patrick Chauvin, Executive Director - Assets at Stonewater, said:

Patrick Chauvin

“This Energy White Paper brings some welcome clarity to the ‘green industrial revolution’ called for last month by the prime minister. Yet significant grey areas remain that must be addressed before we can fully deliver for our communities.

“The focus on tackling fuel poverty is one area we completely support, as is expansion in the use of existing heat pump technology and creating jobs. We know it will not be easy, but work we commissioned from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the summer ‘All hands to the pump: a home improvement plan for England’ showed how it can be achieved through retrofitting existing homes and also on new builds using existing technologies.

“At our pilot project at Blackbird Leys in Oxford, 60 affordable homes are being retrofitted with ground-source heat pumps as part of the Energy Superhub Oxford. This will cut thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide and save our residents money, helping tackle fuel poverty. This is only the start, but it shows what we as a housing provider can achieve – and we plan to do much more to address the climate emergency.”

On other aspects, Patrick added:

“The Energy White Paper indicates fossil fuel heating systems will be phased out in England in the next 15 years. This is in addition to an upcoming consultation on whether there should be no gas grid connections to new homes being built from 2025. We applaud these steps on the journey to net zero-carbon by 2050. But we also call on the government to ensure funding and clear rules are in place so that no household faces increased energy costs through the implementation of these policies.

“Also, the Energy White Paper refers to the expected Future Homes Standard and its role in ensuring all new homes are ‘zero-carbon ready’. To help us plan for the 2050 net zero-carbon target, the sooner the Future Homes Standard can be finalised the better. This will help give us the confidence we need to decarbonise our customers’ homes.”