Grants of £ 5,000 ($ 6,863) will be available for UK households to replace their gas boilers with low-carbon heat pumps in a bid to cut emissions from homes.
The government announced the subsidies because it confirmed a target for all new heating systems to be low-carbon by 2035, but said families would not be forced to remove their boilers.
The shift to low-carbon heating will also reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels and its exposure to spikes in global gas prices, ministers said.
It will also support up to 240,000 jobs across the UK by 2035, they said.
The measures are part of the heat and buildings strategy released on Tuesday, as well as broader government plans to reduce UK climate emissions to net zero by 2050.
The end of the sale of new fossil-fueled boilers has been greeted as an important signal to the world in the run-up to the UN Cop26 climate talks hosted by the UK next month.
But experts and activists have warned that funding for heat pumps is not enough.
Grants to install low-carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, which run on electricity and work like an upside-down refrigerator to extract energy from the air or the ground, will be provided as part of the £ 450million program.
The program is part of more than £ 3.9 billion to reduce carbon emissions from heating and buildings, including making social housing more energy efficient and reducing emissions from public buildings, over the next three years.
The £ 5,000 grants will be available from next April and will mean people installing a heat pump will pay a similar amount to installing traditional gas boilers.
There is also a £ 60million innovation fund to make clean heating systems smaller, easier to install and cheaper to operate.
The government has said its plans will help people install low-carbon heating systems in a simple, fair and inexpensive way as they replace their old boilers over the next decade.
He said he would work with industry to ensure heat pumps have the same cost to purchase and operate as fossil fuel units by 2030.
Cost reductions of between 25% and 50% are expected by 2025, as the market expands and technology expands, officials said.
Heat pumps cost an average of £ 10,000 to install and do not necessarily save on running costs, although they are much more efficient than gas, as environmental taxes are higher on electricity than on gas. the gas.
Cleaning up building emissions, which accounted for 17% of the UK’s greenhouse gases in 2019, mostly from heating, will require a mix of low-carbon solutions.
They include heat networks, and possibly the use of hydrogen boilers, where hydrogen can be produced cleanly.
“As we clean up the way we heat our homes over the next decade, we are supporting our brilliant innovators to make clean technologies like heat pumps as cheap to buy and run as gas boilers, supporting thousands of green jobs, “said British Prime Minister Boris. Johnson said.
“Our new grants will help homeowners make the switch sooner, without costing them more, so going green is the best choice when their boiler needs an upgrade.”
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The recent volatility in global gas prices has highlighted the need for increased efforts to reduce Britain’s dependence on fossil fuels and s ‘move away from gas boilers over the next decade to protect consumers in the long term.
“As technology improves and costs fall over the next decade, we anticipate that low-carbon heating systems will become the obvious and affordable choice for consumers. “
Jan Rosenow, European director of the Regulatory Assistance Project, which aims to accelerate the transition to clean, reliable and efficient energy, said the strategy had many positive elements.
“The UK would be the first country in the world to ban the installation of new fossil-fueled heating systems that would set an example for others,” Mr Rosenow said. “This is an important signal as we approach Cop26 in Glasgow.
“The granting of subsidies for the installation of heat pumps is essential because they are more expensive than gas boilers, but the level of funding is too low.
He said the funding would only allow 30,000 homes to benefit from the grant, which was just enough to support current installation levels.
Mr Rosenow said it was not enough to meet the government’s goal of installing 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028.
Environmental activists from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have also criticized the level of funding.
“As millions of families face an energy and cost-of-living crisis, this is a lean, unambitious and wholly inadequate response,” said Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary. .
“Families across the country were in desperate need of Labor’s 10-year plan, investing £ 6bn per year in house insulation and zero-carbon heating to cut their bills by £ 400 per year, improve our energy security, create jobs and reduce carbon emissions. “
But Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy, said when the subsidy program kicks off, the company will install heat pumps at about the same cost as gas boilers.
Mr Jackson said the company has started training 1,000 engineers a year.
He said it would help start a cheap, clean heating revolution, and that increasing technology and the supply chain in Britain would mean companies like Octopus would soon be able to install heat pumps without government support.
“Electric heat pumps are more efficient, safer and cleaner than gas boilers and can help make homes more comfortable with less energy,” he said.
“Today we have taken an important step in our fight against climate change and to reduce Britain’s dependence on expensive and dirty gas.”
Updated: October 18, 2021, 9:48 PM