Octopus boss on heat pumps: “It’s the Ford Model T of heating”

The UK needs to get the heat pumps to the masses, Greg Jackson has said

Big Zero Report 2022

The UK needs to accelerate the heat pump rollout, the Octopus Energy boss has said.

In a media webinar, joined by ELN, Greg Jackson, Octopus Energy Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “What we really need to do now as a nation is to get heat pumps to the masses.

“It’s the Ford Model T of heating. That’s the next phase and I think the government’s grant will enable us to kickstart that but it will only be the beginning.

“Almost every barrier can be solved. It’s like the electric car revolution and people said ‘there won’t be enough chargers’ or ‘the grid won’t cope’.

“Well, here we are, we are now seeing five times more electric cars in the UK than we did two years ago and they are representing something like 20% to 25% of new car sales. Heat pumps can follow the same trajectory.”

Attendees of the online conference organised by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit heard from a panel of experts the implication of the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), which new heat pump installations will be eligible from 1st April.

The BUS will provide grants to support the installation of heat pumps and in some circumstances biomass boilers, in homes and some non-domestic buildings.

Talking about the impact of the Russian-Ukraine war on energy prices, Mr Jackson said: “What we need to recognise is that unlike any other fossil fuel crisis we have experienced we now have an alternative in renewables.

“We did not have that before but thanks to the leadership of governments, investment from companies, the innovation we are now within sniffing distance of a system that does not rely on fossil fuels. 

“I think our analysis has 15% of homes could have a heat pump today with zero change – with no more than £500 of change as you get to 34% of homes.”

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