OFTEC: UK focus should not be solely on heat pumps

OFTEC, heat pumps, oil heating, oil-heated homes, rural, Paul Rose
Paul Rose

Following the launch of its report Industrial Strategy for decarbonising oil heated homes, OFTEC has criticised the government and industry focus on shifting oil-heated homes towards heat pumps.

OFTEC believes rural households face challenges such as lower disposable incomes and deeper levels of fuel poverty meaning they are unlikely to be able to afford carbon reducing methods such as heat pumps in homes that will require refurbishment to make them energy efficient such as new windows, external cladding, new radiators, and hot water tanks.

Paul Rose, OFTEC CEO, says: “The nature of off-grid homes in the UK, including the 1.53 million heated by oil, means they will be amongst the most difficult to improve. Most are unsuited to solutions such as heat pumps without significant, costly retrofits which consumers are highly unlikely to embrace. What these households need are affordable solutions that are simple to deploy.”

OFTEC believes that current decarbonisation policy is trying to shift oil heated households to expensive solutions when more affordable approaches can be developed.

OFTEC highlights alternative approaches, citing sustainable, low carbon liquid fuels that could be produced in sufficient volume in the UK, with the additional benefit of generating investment opportunities and creating new green jobs.

Rose believes government needs to rethink its strategy: “Whichever low carbon option is chosen, consumers will need help to afford the necessary changes, so it makes sense for government to back the most cost-effective option, along with the alternatives. For most oil heated homes this will be to retain and optimise their existing heating system and simply switch to a sustainable fuel.”

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