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What comes next for the UK’s green revolution?

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The UK Government has yeeted the Green Homes Grant out of the door, never to be seen again. That’s despite telling one of our readers that the scheme hadn’t been scrapped, it just wasn’t accepting new applications after March 31, 2021.

What was once a flagship policy for the UK Government has turned into an absolute disaster. No one wanted any part of it. Businesses found the Government too slow to actually pay out the amount promised by the vouchers, while very few homeowners actually made any upgrades under the scheme.  

The scheme was filled with so much promise when it was first announced, with homeowners counting the many ways they could upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes. Instead, the Government toyed with the scheme so much that basically the main upgrades you could do were install a heat pump or more insulation, hardly the most exciting upgrades. 

While I am definitely team heat pump, there were a myriad of other ways the Government could have made homes more energy efficient. How about funding towards home energy storage or more renewable generation? That could actually make homes more energy efficient, by allowing them to store electricity when it’s in an abundance, while also helping the national grid with the intermittent power produced by renewables. 

It may be the end of the road for the Green Homes Grant scheme, but I have to wonder – what comes next? Will we see another drive to get homes ready for the upcoming green revolution, or is the paltry £300 million made available to local councils to make green upgrades all that we’re going to see?

The industry has come up with a wealth of suggestions that could help the UK Government in making its decision, but one consistent message is that any future scheme needs to be long-term. 

One part of the industry that has actually benefited from the existing scheme has echoed those calls, The Heat Pump Federation. 

In a statement, Bean Beanland of the Heat Pump Federation said, “For the heat pump sector to meet the Government’s ambition for the deployment of 600,000 heat pump systems per annum by 2028, as set out in the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Green Revolution Plan, it’s imperative for Government to work closely with our members, industry colleagues and housing providers.  A clear road-map for the coming decade is needed, underpinned by a consistent suite of policies.”

“Only in this way can financial stability be ensured, so drawing in the necessary private investment to the housing, energy efficiency and heating sectors to replace taxpayer support as we move increasingly towards a market driven by regulation rather than subsidy.”

“Our members strongly support the additional funding for the local authority delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme, and the intent to build on the success of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator. However, it is essential that the “able to pay” domestic sector is also addressed with long-term initiatives which make it affordable for homeowners to invest in their homes.

“There is enormous scope for private investment in energy efficiency and low carbon technologies, from homeowners, from financial institutions and others. Government needs to play its part in creating the circumstances under which the investment will flow and the heat pump sector will invest in training, jobs and the supply chain.”

“Decarbonisation of heat is critical to the UK’s Net Zero ambitions. There is no time to waste. An extended period of stable government policy is required.” 

We’re inclined to agree, but it’s time the whole industry benefits. There’s more to the Green Revolution than just a heat pump and a bit more insulation.

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