Comment by Darren McMahon, Viessmann UK marketing director:
Viessmann fully supports the Prime Minister’s ambitious Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, announced yesterday. The plan outlines a set of initiatives designed to mobilise £12 billion of government investment to both create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs. This level of focus and investment will be critical if the UK is to be successful in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and particularly in the run up to the COP26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow next year.
Viessmann especially commends the strong focus of the plan on heating efficiency and decarbonisation. Heating is hard to decarbonise – as evidenced by the limited progress over the past ten years – and government intervention is key for success. Therefore, we fully support the allocation of £1 billion next year to extend the Green Homes Grant and deliver a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, as well as the provision of up to £500 million to trial hydrogen applications, including for heating.
The Green Homes Grant has been well-received but criticised for having too short a window to have any meaningful impact. Pent up demand from homeowners from the first lockdown period means the nation’s heating installers are already well booked up as we enter the traditionally busy heating season. To compound this further, Green Homes Grant vouchers are being issued very slowly and installations are inevitably delayed. Around 30% of installations of Viessmann heat pumps are currently tied up, waiting for vouchers to be issued. An extension to the scheme by 12 months will ensure that these projects and installations can be realised, and are open to more of the population, not just the early adopters.
If the heating market is to achieve the level of radical change set out in the plan – 600,000 heat pumps installed every year by 2028 – this type of support for decarbonised and efficient heating is essential. We expect the Government will need to follow through with further brave interventions to tighten new build and retrofit regulations for heating systems, as well as a plan to encourage installers to upskill for new technologies. This decade is a make or break period for decarbonisation from heating and the plan sends a positive signal to the market for change.