Griff Thomas from GTEC gives his verdict on the current Clean Heat Market Mechanism (CHMM) uncertainty.
While the CHMM was born from good intentions, I am not surprised by the rumours circulating that it is to be scrapped. The consequences of this type of policy are far reaching, with much of its fall-out detrimental to the consumer.
We are not yet in a position in the UK to do away with gas boilers and many of the end users that still rely on this technology, live in hard to upgrade and/or low-income households. One of the most concerning potential consequences of the CHMM is a rise in boiler prices, caused by manufacturers trying to recoup the costs of fines for not meeting the heat pump quota. All this does is penalise the customer.
To counterbalance the fines and promote heat pump sales, manufacturers might offer grants or incentives. While seemingly beneficial, these grants could paradoxically keep hardware prices high. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for widespread heat pump take-up is cost; any policy that continues to position heat pumps as financially out of reach for many people is counterproductive.
Sadly, what this current U-turn underscores is the larger issue plaguing the industry: the havoc wreaked by the chop and change approach to environmental policymaking. Constant change creates uncertainty and mistrust that can stifle innovation, deter investment, and complicate long-term planning for manufacturers and consumers alike. We need policies that are not only ambitious in their environmental goals but also pragmatic in their economic and social implications.
Collaboration between all the parties involved – from manufacturers and installers to end users – is essential. Net zero should be a common goal. Policies to facilitate it must be realistic and positive; forcing the hand of a market that still has a place for a large proportion of the population only serves to create division.