Government’s plans to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 could fail unless there are enough skilled engineers in the supply chain, a group of MPs has warned.
In a letter to energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng, the chairman of the environmental audit committee (EAC), Philip Dunne said there are a number of barriers which could stifle plans to install heat pumps at large scale by that date.
In the letter, the committee chair argues that clear direction is needed for industry given the short timeframe in which Ministers are seeking to deliver substantial increases in the pace of installations.
These include issues with the supply chain, which the committee claims is not currently equipped to install the number of heat pumps required.
Sufficient production and high-quality installation are key to making the roll-out happen, and while the initial growth in heat pump installers will come from reskilling existing gas and electrical engineers, there needs to be a concerted attempt to bring new, skilled entrants into the market.
The EAC is therefore urging the government to fund a dedicated training programme to support a long-term strategy for education and training in green jobs.
‘We are in an exciting and innovative time with new technologies coming to market that can make our net-zero ambition a reality. But the scale of the challenge is huge, and requires government to set clear direction to instil industry confidence,’ said Mr Dunne.
‘Heat pumps could be transformative in decarbonising heating in our homes, and with homes emitting 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gases, it is a problem we need to meet head-on. Only when the supply chain is equipped to deliver the roll-out of 600,000 heat pumps a year, and costs are brought down for consumers, will we see heat pumps being a staple for many UK homes.’
Responding, a BEIS spokesperson said: ‘Decarbonising heating is key to achieving net zero by 2050. That is why it is our ambition to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, cutting emissions, driving investment, creating jobs as part of our green recovery.
‘We have outlined our intention move away from fossil fuel heating in homes over the coming years and will launch a call for evidence on affordability and fairness in the energy market, including for the use of heat pumps. We will set out further details in the coming months.’
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