Raising the temperature of the UK heat pump market: Learning lessons from Finland

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Abstract

Heat pumps play a central role in decarbonising the UK's buildings sector as part of the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) updated abatement scenario for meeting the UK's fourth carbon budget. However, the UK has one of the least developed heat pump markets in Europe and renewable heat output from heat pumps will need to increase by a factor of 50 over the next 15 years to be in line with the scenario. Therefore, this paper explores what lessons the UK might learn from Finland to achieve this aim considering that its current level of heat pump penetration is comparable with that outlined in the CCC scenario for 2030. Despite the two countries' characteristic differences we argue they share sufficient similarities for the UK to usefully draw some policy-based lessons from Finland including: stimulating new-build construction and renovation of existing stock; incorporating renewable heat solutions in building energy performance standards; and bringing the cost of heat pumps in-line with gas fired heating via a combination of subsidies, taxes and energy RD&D. Finally, preliminary efforts to grow the heat pump market could usefully focus on properties unconnected to the gas-grid, considering these are typically heated by relatively expensive oil or electric heating technologies.

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Hannon, M. J. (2015). Raising the temperature of the UK heat pump market: Learning lessons from Finland. Energy Policy, 85, 369–375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2015.06.016

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