Date Published: May 2022
Matthew Parris loves Heat Pumps
Matthew Parris has just written a well balanced article in The Times on 24 April: “A home-heating revolution won’t come cheap”.
He says “I love heat pumps. I’ve relied exclusively on ground-source heating for many years for a house and a holiday cottage, and on air-source for a pool. Neither has ever given me a moment’s trouble”.
It is great that Matthew is bringing a satisfied consumer’s view to a national newspaper and states that “Boris Johnson is right to push the green agenda but installing millions of heat pumps will be hugely costly and disruptive”.
He opens his article with an interesting and apt analogy, “Imagine plunging a red hot poker into a big bucket of cold water. The temperature of the poker will drop hugely. The temperature of the water will rise slightly. Overall, energy will have been neither lost nor gained but simply transferred from poker to water. Now suppose a machine could achieve the reverse: water cools slightly, poker heats up hugely and, again, only a transfer of energy.
Well, that machine is called a heat pump and whether Boris Johnson knows it or not, his government plans to make tens of millions of us get one.”
We recommend you read A home-heating revolution won’t come cheap which faces up to the costs and disruptions that will be involved in promoting the revolution.
Matthew concludes his article with “there’s a chance we could make it work. Let’s hope so”.
A week later Matthew Parris writes in The Times:
After writing on Saturday about the challenge of shifting British households from gas combi boilers to heat pumps, a barrage of readers’ advice arrives. Oh, those “drat!” moments when a columnist realises what he forgot to say. Readers point out that taxes on energy are skewed precisely the wrong way. We’ve frozen the tax on petrol and diesel, slashed VAT on gas but slapped a whacking “green” supplement on electricity.
One reader’s calculation is that comparative taxes per kilowatt-hour of energy are 0.43p for gas; 6.01p for electricity (which heat pumps use). “Burn gas!” says the chancellor. Why? Reverse the difference and at one stroke you’d provide a terrific boost to the take-up of air and ground-source heating.
“Thanks to the heat of the earth I’m warm”
As long ago as 2007 Matthew Parris was writing with knowledge and enthusiasm about the ground source heat pumps he had installed in his own properties in the Peak District of Derbyshire: “Thanks to the heat of the earth I’m warm.”
Actions needed to achieve Net-Zero
The GSHPA recognises that the progress to Net-Zero has been very slow. The Government has voiced many aspirations of addressing the climate emergency but has so far not taken the actions needed to launch the UK onto the right route.
The GSHPA is ready to work with the Government to achieve its objectives. The first step for the chancellor is to reduce the taxes on electricity which are currently inhibiting the installation of heat pumps.
He should also consider taxing the burning of gas, oil and coal for heating which is the root cause of the climate emergency.
Government should also provide funding to make installing low carbon heating as attractive for the consumer as it is essential for the health of the planet.
The GSHPA is ready to help.