European energy giant announces it is to begin offering heat pumps in the Netherlands, as it eyes UK market potential

European energy giant Vattenfall has announced it is to launch a high-temperature heat pump solution, as it looks to accelerate the shift away from gas boilers across the continent.

The Sweden-based clean energy specialist confirmed it has partnered with heating technology outfit Feenstra to offer competitively priced all-electric heat pumps in the Netherlands ahead of a potential wider roll out, including in the UK.

The similarities between Dutch and British gas central heating mean these high temperature heat pumps could be suitable for UK housing in suburban and rural areas, the company said.

As such, Vattenfall and Feenstra envisage that the heat pumps could enable households to swap out their existing gas boilers without needing to go to the additional expense and disruption of changing the rest of their heating system or installing additional insulation at the same time, as can be the case with lower temperature heat pumps.

Vattenfall said the new high temperature heat pumps could achieve temperatures of between 60 to 80 degrees Celsius, comfortably exceeding the 45 and 55 degrees Celsius range achieved by some conventional heat pumps.

“The high temperature heat pump solution is innovative, simple to install and could be the solution to help decarbonise homes in the UK that are heated using traditional gas boilers,” said Mark Anderson, commercial and development director at Vattenfall Heat UK.

However, he also stressed that “there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonising heating”. “Removing emissions from heating relies on us making better use of waste heat from all sources and installing the right technologies in the correct locations of the country, where they will be most effective and affordable,” he added.  

Vattenfall also pointed to research carried out last year, which found that just under a quarter of UK adults are confident they could afford to install a low-carbon heating system. As such, the company stressed that the price of the “high-temperature heat pump will be comparable to current low and medium temperature heat pumps, but without the extra cost of retrospective insulation and/or under floor heating”.

The announcement makes Vattenfall the latest major energy company to target a heat pump market that advocates are increasingly confident will expand rapidly over the coming decade.

Last autumn the UK government published its long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy, which stressed that heat pumps are expected to play a major role in the decarbonisation of the UK’s buildings and reiterated a target to deliver 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028. To help deliver on the target, the government announced a new £450m grant scheme to encourage households to switch to heat pumps and other low carbon heating systems, £60m of innovation funding to help drive down the cost of heat pump technologies, and a goal to end the installation of conventional gas boilers by 2035.

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