Heating industry leaders join forces to support inclusion of gas absorption heat pumps in the RHI

Immediate Release: 16 May 2014

Leading heating industry stakeholders (Heating & Hotwater Industry Council, Sustainable Energy Association, UKLPG, Baxi, British Gas, Calor, Robur, Viessmann and Worcester Bosch) have today joined forces to support the inclusion of gas absorption heat pumps (GAHPs) in the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) under the upcoming formal review of the scheme1. GAHPs are an available renewable heating solution that can readily deliver decarbonisation benefits for a wide range of properties on and off the gas grid without loss of comfort or infrastructure upgrades2.

By combining two established technologies, a high efficiency modern condensing gas boiler and an air source heat pump, GAHPs provide an efficient and low carbon way to utilise gas and LP gas in homes across the UK. Cost-effective use of gas has the potential to reduce energy bills immediately and the technology itself provides an easy transition from conventional boilers for consumers. A number of companies develop a range of highly efficient GAHP products with diverse sizes and technical characteristics suitable for commercial, industrial and community heating.

The Government’s Heat Strategy has identified widespread GAHP deployment as necessary to achieve binding carbon reduction targets3. However, the opportunity to bring this key solution to market is time limited. It is critical that the formal review of the non-domestic RHI to be published in 2014 establishes support for GAHPs on par with other renewable heating solutions. Postponing a decision for the next formal review of the scheme in 2017 would be ruinous for the development of this key solution to UK energy policy objectives.

Roger Webb, Director of the Hot Water and Industry Council (HHIC) commented:
‘GAHP’s are an alternative means of delivering renewable heat in the UK by making use of the existing gas infrastructure. Inclusion in the RHI is important to demonstrate their value and to drive up sales of these products.’

Dave Sowden Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) commented:
‘A crucial part of the non-domestic RHI review process is to ensure the right mix of technologies is available to support the intentions of the scheme and help to achieve the UK’s renewables targets. We would support the inclusion of additional technologies where they can be shown to meet the defined qualifying criteria and provide a cost-effective contribution. GAHPs are one such example of a technology with this potential and should be included in this review.’

Rob Shuttleworth, Chief Executive of UKLPG commented:
‘UKLPG and the LPG industry fully supports the inclusion of GAHP in the non-domestic RHI as a means of contributing to the reduction of off grid carbon emissions and helping businesses located off the gas grid reduce their energy bills & increase their competitiveness.’

Notes to Editors

  1. The next formal non-domestic RHI review has been scheduled for 2014. According to DECC, the introduction of support for new technologies will only normally be considered as part of formal RHI reviews. If GAHPs are not included in the RHI in 2014, the next opportunity would not be until the formal review of the non-domestic RHI in 2017 thus placing this renewable heating technology at major competitive disadvantage.
  2. EU guidelines for Member States on calculating renewable energy from heat pumps, published on 1 March, confirmed that gas absorption heat pumps are renewable (if the gas utilisation efficiency is ≥ 1.15) and set a norm to calculate their renewable energy towards binding targets, thus establishing solid legal grounding for RHI support.
  3. The Government’s Heat Strategy, published in March 2013, attributes a prominent role to gas absorption heat pumps as a means of decarbonising heating in the UK. One of the two modelling scenarios carried out for the purposes of the Heat Strategy indicates that gas absorption heat pumps will be the core heating technology in the UK from 2025 onwards To see the report ‘The Future of Heating: Meeting the Challenge’, please click here.

For further information:

Ilias Vazaios
Ecuity Consulting LLP
0121 709 5587