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NEA publishes heat pump report

The finds of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action were published yesterday, following on from research commissioned by DECC to assess the potential of air source heat pumps on the domestic network infrastructure.

This highlighted the need for distribution network operators (DNOs) to adopt a more central role in the implementation and distribution of low carbon technologies, such as air source heat pumps (ASHPs).

The role of DNOs was identified as ‘central’ to implementation of demand-side management or investment in low-carbon technologies.

NEA sought assistance from key energy consultants and agencies such as Community Energy Solutions (CES) and network operator CE Electric to illustrate various scenarios to highlight potential issues where single and high density installations of ASHPs were proposed.

It found that political backing through incentives such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and increased support and investment for heat pump technology by local authorities mean better understanding of grid load implications is essential.

NEA hopes its research will increase understanding of the potential impact of ASHPs on the grid and encourage both further investigation and increased awareness of key issues identified in this report such as ‘harmonics’, ‘flicker’ and ‘overloading’.

In the longer term the Government’s Micro-generation strategy has suggested that 40% of the UK’s electricity demand and a 15% cut in household energy use could be met by installing micro-generation equipment on all types of buildings by 2050; as a result, micro-CHP and air-source heat pumps were technologies identified as ‘best poised’ to grow rapidly and deliver meaningful energy and CO2 saving in a supportive policy environment.

More details of the report can be found at