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Industry calls on minister to end distorted renewable heating market

Industry today called for the government to end distortions in the commercial market for renewable heating by allowing air-to-water heat pumps to compete fairly with other renewables.

The move comes following talks between energy minister Greg Barker and a coalition comprising the Micropower Council, the Heat Pumps Association, BEAMA and the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council.

The industry called for the government to adhere to its original timetable and introduce a Renewable Heat tariff for air to water heat pumps this October.

Heating & Hotwater Industry Council director Roger Webb said: “There is no logic in continuing to exclude air to water heat pumps from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

“It does create confusion why some technologies are included and others are not.

“The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) believes that it is important to have a level playing field for all renewable technologies so that opportunities can be created.”

BEAMA marketing director Kelly Butler added: “Successive government’s have stated their aim to grow a sustainable renewable heat industry but the current RHI phase 1 is effectively stifling any sustainable growth for air-source heat pumps by excluding what is a valid renewable heat technology.

“The simple fact is that commercial air-to-water heat pumps offer a great opportunity to meet our renewable targets and absolutely fit in with the government’s long term de-carbonised energy scenarios. 

“To delay market support is setting the UK back in meeting its renewable energy and carbon reduction targets and puts the goalition very squarely in the position of promoting anti-competitive policy making.”

Heat Pump Association president Tony Bowen said: ‘We have long sought the inclusion of air-source heat pumps to rank alongside ground-source as vital links in progress towards a low carbon economy.

“This delay is now incomprehensible and DECC needs to take prompt steps to end the current market distortion.”

Micropower Council chief executive Dave Sowden said: “We have confirmed with officials that the minister has no legal reason why he cannot proceed this October without a further consultation.

“He now has more evidence on air to water heat pumps than any of the technologies already benefiting from the RHI.

“Our call is to apply a tariff to exactly the same formula as for the other technologies, and the European Commission has told us it could process a properly completed State Aid application within two months.

“All we want is a level playing field for all renewable heating solutions, and the minister has not supplied any justifiable reason to continue with what is now a serious and harmful market distortion in what should by now be a flourishing commercial renewable heating market.

“There is no reason to U-turn on the previous commitment to include this important technology this October, and hold up the rest of the scheme just because the government has delayed the residential part of the RHI until next year”.


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