Electrification of Heat places and partners announced

Published: 29 June 2020

Three locations and three delivery contractors have been announced to install electric heat pumps into 750 homes for the £14.6m Electrification of Heat Demonstration (EoHD) project.

Energy Systems Catapult is managing the Electrification of Heat EoHD project, which aims to better understand and overcome barriers to the large-scale roll-out of low carbon heating. The three locations and delivery contractors are:

  • South East of Scotland – lead delivery contractor Warmworks working with Energy Savings Trust and Changeworks.
  • Newcastle – lead delivery contractor E.ON working with Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle.
  • South East of England – lead delivery contractor Ovo Energy working with Kaluza, RetrofitWorks, Parity Projects and SunAmp.

Across the 250 homes in each region that will take part in the trial, will be a broad spectrum of housing types and socio-economic groups. In addition, a range of different heat pump types, on and off-gas grid homes and additional technologies, such as heat batteries, will be incorporated.

Currently the heat pump market in the UK 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.

An Energy Systems Catapult survey found currently less than 20% of people would consider switching to low carbon heating when it came time to replace their gas boiler, citing cost and convenience as the barriers. While less than 2% of people had already made the switch to a low carbon heating system in recent years.

The EoHD programme aims to address the barriers to wide-spread deployment by providing evidence to better understand the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of heat pumps.

Energy Systems Catapult chief executive Philip New said: “With 85% of households on the gas grid, replacing fossil-fuel gas boilers with heat pumps can make a very substantial contribution in achieving our 2050 Net Zero targets – alongside district heating and converting part of the natural gas grid to deliver hydrogen.

“But the heat pump market in the UK is small and consumers – particularly those living on the gas grid – have been slow to switch to the technology. Currently only around 20,000 homes convert to low carbon heating each year. That figure needs to reach 1 million annually during the 2020s.

“The Electrification of Heat Demonstration aims to increase confidence in low carbon heating technology to underpin a public debate and strategic decisions about the future of heat in the UK.”

Delivery Contractors

The UK Government is making £14.6 million available for the pilot in the South East of Scotland, the South East of England and Newcastle

  • E.ON will install 250 heat pumps along with a range of innovative secondary technologies, such as thermal stores, to suitable homes in Newcastle for free. The project will demonstrate that heat pumps are one of the smart, personalised and sustainable solutions that will help us in meeting the challenge to move away from fossil fuels and combat the climate crisis.
  • OVO Energy has been chosen to lead the UK’s largest zero carbon heating trial in South East England to demonstrate a practical and low-cost solution to creating zero carbon homes in the UK. The trial gives 250 pioneering customers the opportunity of installing technology and energy efficiency measures in their home.
  • Warmworks will install 250 heat pumps in a range of households across South East Scotland. They will be provided free of charge in return for participating in the research and monitoring aspects of the project. The project aims to understand how participants perceive the performance of different types of heat pump and what challenges may be faced by households who want to switch away from traditional gas central heating to a renewable heating system.