Initiating the heat pump boom: the fine detail
The much-needed push for heat pumps is already gathering pace: in March 2022, the German government decided that from 1 January 2024, every newly installed heating system must be run on at least 65% renewable energy. This means that the installation of heating systems fuelled solely by oil or gas will no longer be permitted. However, to boost the expansion of heat pumps to six million by 2030, this 65% regulation must now be enshrined in law. This will give manufacturers, installation companies and property owners/managers the certainty they need for long-term planning, enabling them to invest in production and training and incorporate heat pumps into their product portfolios.
What practical action can policy-makers and businesses take to ensure that climate-compatible heat pumps permeate the building stock? Answers are provided in a new study, entitled “Opening the way for heat pumps”, by a research team from the Oeko-Institut and Fraunhofer ISE. On behalf of Agora Energiewende, the researchers offer practical advice, solutions and recommendations for further action.
Challenges for businesses
The market ramp-up creates challenges for businesses. Systems manufacturers will have to expand their production capacities. Individual components must be standardised. Heating, plumbing and air conditioning companies will need to reorganise their services to include heat pump distribution, installation and maintenance. Heat pump manufacturers will have to intensify their training programmes. A new “speed of installation” component should be integrated into training, which has hitherto focused mainly on the quality of installation. In addition, the electricity grids must be capacitated to cope with the additional loads generated by an influx of new heat pumps. The grids need to be capable of harnessing the flexibility that heat pumps provide for the power supply system.
A policy framework is needed for the heat pump boom
The market ramp-up also needs policy-makers’ support: the 65% regulation must be enshrined in law without delay and exemptions must be strictly limited. Broad-based subsidy schemes should be established on a long-term basis. Low-income property owners must be given targeted support. Another key element in the market ramp-up is energy pricing: the current energy crisis calls for targeted safeguards so that the costs of operating heat pumps remain competitive.