York Community Energy give its verdict on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme
Have you given much thought to how you will heat your home in the future?
York Community Energy, a social enterprise whose aim is to reduce York’s carbon emissions by both saving energy and generating community-owned renewable energy, has been giving it’s verdict on the plans to revolutionise home heating.
The UK government have finally published their long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy, including the Boiler Upgrade Scheme starting in April 2022, which is a £5k grant for customers switching to an air source heat pump, or £6k for those switching to a ground source heat pump.
York Community Energy says:
“The first thing to note is that this £5k grant is a limited offer; there is a total of £450 million available over three years, meaning that the fund will cover at most 90,000 installations.
“Given that we are already installing more than 30,000 heat pumps per year in the UK, and the Climate Change Committee has set a target of 100,000 installs per year over the next three years, it looks like this money is not going to stretch very far.
“Also bear in mind that some homes will need improvements to the insulation and/or radiators to avoid inefficient heat pump operation and sky high energy bills for homeowners.
“A badly designed heat pump system can be very costly indeed. Unfortunately there is no provision in the scheme to assist with this.”
YCE goes on to say that all things considered though, this is at least a sign that we are headed in the right direction. The Heat and Buildings Strategy mentions an ambition to phase out new fossil gas boilers by 2035, and with no decision on hydrogen boilers until 2026, the momentum is now well and truly with heat pumps.
It adds: “This should give people confidence in the technology and the industry, which will hopefully lead to greater supply chain investment and, eventually, an acceptable price point without the need for subsidies.
“The danger, of course, is that the government botches the execution of the grant scheme, as they did with the Green Homes Grant, where it was almost impossible to obtain the vouchers or find installers to do the work.
“But hopefully lessons have been learned since last time.”
What about people on lower incomes?
YCE told YorkMix that in it’s view: “The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is clearly aimed at owner-occupiers with some disposable income, but fortunately the £450 million allocated for the scheme is just a small part of a larger £3.9 billion package, which includes £800 million for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and £950 million for the Home Upgrades Grant.
“The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund provides money to improve social housing from EPC grade D/E/F/G to grade C, while the Home Upgrades Grant allows homeowners and renters on low incomes to get certain kinds of insulation for free.
“York residents with a household income under £30k can apply through City of York Council.”
Read more about their view on the scheme here