THE UK’s leading authority on heat pumps has backed the Scottish Government’s recent proposals aimed at increasing deployment of the technology.

Ministers have committed to installing 170,000 new heat pumps by 2030 in off-gas grid properties and are consulting on whether to ban the installation of fossil fuel heating in new build homes from April 2024.

The Government is also exploring whether to downgrade the energy efficiency rating (EPC) of homes with gas boilers compared to those with climate-friendly systems such as heat-pumps.

It is all part of an wide-ranging strategy to remove fossil fuels from the heating systems of more than a million homes by 2030 – an essential milestone if Scotland is to reach its net-zero target by 2045.

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A new mobile-training unit is also set to offer professionals training on how to install heat pumps as well as the opportunity to gain the necessary qualifications.

However, after Labour peer Lord Haughey claimed that heat pumps were not a “feasible” alternative to heating homes with fossil fuels, the UK’s leading authority on heat pumps – the Heat Pump Association (HPA) – has backed the Scottish Government’s plans and said they are “crucial” to a green energy future.

The chief executive of the HPA, Charlotte Lee, said: “It is great to see Scotland reaffirming its commitment to support the deployment of heat pumps, and consulting on steps to actively reflect their low carbon nature through EPC ratings.

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“Furthermore, the opening of the new mobile training unit is the perfect depiction of industry and government working together to solve key challenges in the journey to decarbonising heat. These initiatives are crucial to securing a green future for Scotland.”

Figures show that there are currently 187 certified MCS heat pump businesses working in Scotland who have completed over 8400 installations since 2022.

But with a poll conducted by WWF showing that 40% of those surveyed would consider installing a heat pump as an alternative to a fossil fuel boiler within the next five years, the HPA added that more installers will be needed to meet demand.