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Last week the UK government revealed its plans to offer homeowners in England and Wales £5,000 ($6,900) in new grants to install heat pumps to warm their homes and provide hot water. The move is part of a strategy aimed at making deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing the UK’s power sector by 2035.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme grants will be available from next April and will mean the cost of installing a heat pump should be similar to that of fitting a traditional gas boiler. It is aimed at reducing the costs of installing a heat pump by at least 25-50% by 2025, so that, by 2030, heat pumps are no more expensive to buy and run than gas boilers.

The move will significantly cut the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels but are heat pump grants enough?

Experts have criticised the plan as not being far reaching enough. As while up to 25 million UK homes have gas boilers, the heat pump grants will fund just 90,000 pumps over three years. And critics have also said to get the most out of the switch, many households will need costly insulation and other home improvements.

Like everything the government decides, there are all sorts of people who think it is a good idea and probably an equal number who don’t agree. That is the benefit of living in a democracy.

Will the scheme ever see the light of day, who knows? It is certainly a step in the right direction as far as creating a cleaner future for the generations to come.

At the same time as the above announcement, South Tyneside council issued an update on the Hebburn Minewater Scheme, which I blogged about in mid-August of last year. The renewable energy centre is located only a couple of miles away from Solar Solve’s Headquarters in South Shields and has reached a critical milestone in the project.

Drilling investigation works have crucially reached target mine workings at 291 metres and tests have revealed that the temperature of the minewater is warmer than anticipated, by around 8 degrees centigrade.

It means the heat pump will work more efficiently, taking much more energy from the water and achieving considerably more carbon savings.

Detailed testing of the water will continue whilst the bore hole is widened to take permanent drill casings and other construction work goes on. Good news indeed for the folk of South Tyneside, UK.

John Lightfoot, Solar Solve Chairman