From the electric vehicle revolution to electrifying the UK’s heating – how the new Secretary of State can accelerate ahead in the global drive to get off gas

Written by Leo Vincent, Campaign Coordinator

On behalf of Electrify Heat, we welcome and congratulate the Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP on his appointment as Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). In his role as Transport Secretary, Shapps oversaw impressive advances in the Electric Vehicles sector, positioning the UK as a world leading market force.
As Transport Secretary (July 2019 – September 2022), Shapps has overseen the investment of billions of pounds to support the transition to electric vehicles and has kept the UK on track for the ambitious ‘Road to Zero’ policy. Under his stewardship, the department has assisted the deployment of millions of rapid charging points across the UK, unveiled plans to expand the EV network, provided subsidies for consumers looking to invest, and seen the UK market for EVs boom as a result.
Many of the challenges navigated by Shapps in the EV policy space, including cost and financing, consumer advice and awareness, and regional deployment nuances, are also barriers to growth in the green and electric heating sector. We are keen to work with Shapps to ensure that the UK achieves the same progress and enjoys the same opportunities with smart, efficient electric heating solutions.
Clean heat has a critical role to play in meeting the Government’s priorities for economic growth, net zero, and greater energy independence, and we encourage his support for long-term policy and funding certainty to support the deployment of this proven clean tech across the UK.
  • Addressing the energy crisis exacerbated by Putin’s war: As a new report by Nesta shows, replacing a boiler with a heat pump reduces a home’s gas use by over 70%, assuming the makeup of the electricity grid remains constant. For every heat pump installed, the UK can save around £1,100 in wholesale gas costs at current prices. If all 23 million homes with gas boilers switched to a heat pump, the savings in wholesale gas costs would be equivalent to around 1.2% of GDP.
  • Heat pumps get Britain working and grow the economy: Underpinned by business-led investment, heat pumps can help to put Global Britain on the map as a clean tech powerhouse. The UK can build on its existing boiler manufacturing capability to tap into this new global market. This presents opportunities to support a high-wage, high-skill economy. Heat pumps are a key tool being used by other countries in response to the energy crisis, creating export opportunities if the UK harnesses its heating appliance manufacturing expertise to clean heat solutions.
Electrify Heat members are committed to working towards the Government’s heat pump targets and are already making the investments needed to grow the industry at pace. The UK is well-positioned to become a world-leader in this exciting technological frontier. To get there, we need a stable and long-term policy and funding environment to provide a platform for the private sector investment and innovation that is already underway. Here are Electrify Heat’s next steps to get on track:
  • Catalyse private investment through long-term certainty. We encourage continued commitment to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, alongside confirmation of long-term regulations and mechanisms set out in the Heat & Buildings Strategy – including timelines for phasing out fossil fuel heating and the market-based mechanism for low carbon heat. The UK’s announcement to phase out new sales of internal combustion engine cars by 2030 has spurred significant private investment from industry and the public, at a minimum cost to the government. Reaffirming the timelines for phasing out fossil heating systems for new (2035) and existing properties (2026 for those off the gas grid; 2035 for new fossil boilers) can act as a similar catalyst, while taking steps to ensure affordability in particular for low-income and vulnerable households.
  • Boost skills and supply chains to support an army of heat pump installers, supporting and incentivising high-quality training, apprenticeships, and retraining opportunities.
  • Roll-out an independently run, nationwide green homes awareness and information campaign, providing tailored advice across the country on low carbon home heating and energy saving measures.

As a coalition, Electrify Heat remains committed to continuing to work with BEIS, alongside other government departments, to build upon positive steps already taken by the Government to supercharge clean, efficient heating at scale. With the ongoing dedication of our coalition and the new Secretary of State’s experience and track record of mobilisation in the electrification space, the future of low-carbon heating and domestic green technology looks bright!