Electrification of Heat Demonstration

Introduction

The Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project aims to confirm the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of heat pumps in Great Britain by installing the low carbon technology in 750 homes, alongside new products and services designed to overcome barriers to deployment.

Following a competitive tender, Energy Systems Catapult in partnership with Delta-EE and Oxford Computer Consultants, have been chosen to manage and coordinate the project on behalf of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Challenge and Opportunity

Heating accounts for 37% of total UK carbon emissions, with heating buildings responsible for over half of that figure – at around 20%.

To achieve our 2050 Net Zero emissions targets, analysis by the Committee on Climate Change suggests we need to decarbonise all heat in buildings by 2050.

With 87% of households on the gas grid – replacing fossil-fuelled gas boilers with heat pumps can make a very substantial contribution in achieving this target – alongside other options such as district heating and converting the natural gas grid to deliver hydrogen.

But the heat pump market in Great Britain is small and consumers – particularly those living on the gas grid – have been slow to switch to the technology. Research suggests this is partly driven by economics but also due to challenges in current domestic consumer proposition, such as the varying thermal efficiency of the housing stock and extremely high market penetration of gas boilers.

To date, most heat pumps in Great Britain have been installed in large, off-gas grid homes, where there are fewer barriers to deployment. They are also being predominantly installed by either well off early adopters, housing developers or social landlords.

The Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project seeks to address this by providing evidence to better understand the feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps and seek to increase confidence in the technology to levels that could underpin a public debate and strategic decisions on the future of heat.

To support this, the project aims to:

  • Develop, test and evaluate products and services that increase the appeal of heat pumps and identify optimal solutions for a wide range of homes.
  • Demonstrate that heat pumps, including gas-electric hybrids, can deliver high consumer satisfaction across a wide range of consumers in Great Britain.
  • Demonstrate the practical and technical feasibility of heat pumps, including gas-electric hybrids, across Great Britain’s diverse housing stock, as well as identifying the costs.
  • Capture learning from the project to help improve awareness across the heating supply chain, raise acceptance and support wider deployment of heat pumps in Great Britain.

The Project

The Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project is aiming to understand the technical and practical feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps.

The project will recruit enough participants to install and monitor 750 heat pumps across a representative range of housing archetypes, again with the majority on the gas grid.

Members of the public will be able to participate in the project, which will install free heat pumps and energy efficiency upgrades (where appropriate) in eligible homes across selected areas of Great Britain. Further details on how to take part will be announced in early 2020.

The BEIS Energy Innovation Programme has made approximately £16.5 million available as part of Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project. The contract is divided into five parts, with a competitive tender process carried out for these appointments to ensure bids are evaluated fairly and transparently:

Management contractor

Energy Systems Catapult in partnership with Delta-EE and Oxford Computer Consultants.

Delivery contractors

An invitation to tender for three delivery contractors is expected to be published in November 2019.

Evaluation contractor

This independent role will evaluate the overall delivery of the project against the agreed performance indicators and metrics. An invitation to tender is expected to be published in December 2019.

Our Approach

As the appointed Management Contractor, Energy Systems Catapult will provide overall programme management of the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project and manage, monitor and coordinate the Delivery Contractors on behalf of BEIS.

Work closely with the Delivery Contractors to develop a shared approach to participant recruitment, and lead the design of the home suitability surveys, installation and monitoring processes, as well as collating, managing and analysing data, and disseminating the project findings.

The project will be managed by our Major Programmes team and will run until March 2022.

Contact

For any queries about the project and coming tenders, please contact heatpumpdemo@beis.gov.uk.