Many countries have included the adoption of heat pumps in their respective carbon neutrality strategies. In this section, we would be investigating the role of heat pumps in the policies for carbon neutrality of different countries in depth.
In 2020, the HK government has pledged to strive for carbon neutrality before 2050, and formulated the Climate Action Plan 2050 (CAP2050) the very next year. One of the many decarbonisation policies and goals was setting a minimum energy efficiency requirement for specific appliances in order to achieve electricity saving in buildings. Simultaneously, the two power companies in HK have established funds to provide subsidies for energy-saving improvement works in various types of buildings. With the high operating efficiency of heat pumps, they will quite likely replace any old appliances that are no longer applicable under the new efficiency requirement. Aside from CAP2050, another climate action includes the “Carbon Neutrality Partnership”, where different sectors would work in tandem with the HK government. Within the partnership, some initiatives involving heat pumps would have most hospitals to replace the existing gas or diesel boilers with heat pumps as major heating source, and business/industrial sectors such as HKSTP to install heat pumps to capture waste heat from pneumatic compressors for generating hot water.
Hong Kong’s two power companies have both offered subsidy schemes for the installation of energy saving products such as HEAT PUMPS. Apart from designing and building reliable heat pump systems, our engineers will be pleased to assist your application for subsidy schemes.
For extra information, the following are the current situation of global adoption of heat pumps in residential and commerical heating, as of 2022.
At the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, it was announced by President Xi that China will be adopting more vigorous policies and measures, and aim to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. As such, there will be a rapid transition from burning fossil fuels to using clean energies as the primary source of energy, and industrial sectors will receive improvements on the efficiencies of the machineries. In 2021, the Sino-German Energy Partnership co-drafted the White Paper on Heat Pumps for Carbon Neutrality, laying out plans to undertake further collaborations with the heat pump industry. Those include aligning the industry standards and incorporating European best practices and experiences. As it was mutually agreed by both parties that “heat pumps are the best technological option to achieve zero carbon in the heating field”, the White Paper would act as the first step in continuing, sustaining and hopefully expanding the heat pump industry in China.
In Japan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the country has declared the aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 46% in 2030 from the level in 2013, and will continue the efforts in cutting the emission by 50%, and eventually carbon neutrality by 2050. In her Long-Term Strategy under the Paris Agreement, Japan has formulated various policies and measures for reduction in emissions across each sector. The decarbonisation of the industrial sectors would utilise heat pumps for the “low-temperature” processes and demands, such as steam and hot water; the decarbonisation of the building sectors would have fossil-fuel boilers replaced by electric heat pumps, recognising heat pumps as the energy efficient solution. Furthermore, quantitative targets have also been set for both industrial heat pumps and commercial heat pump water heaters under the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures.
In late 2020, the UK Prime Minister brought forth the “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution”, pursuing to lead the world into new industrial revolution as UK did two centuries ago; by investing in clean technologies, supporting green jobs and accelerating their path towards carbon neutrality. And continuing the devotion in leading the world, the Net Zero Strategy “Build Back Greener” was presented to the Parliament in late 2021, setting out details on the plans to carry through the strategy. Within the two proposals, several targets and policies were put in place to respective sectors. Specific focus was put into heat pumps in the Heating and Buildings aspect, where a target of 600,000 heat pump installations a year was set to be accomplished by 2028, which is to be supported by a £60 million “Heat Pump Ready” funding programme. In addition, the UK government would be working with the industry to bring down the prices of heat pumps, making them “as cheap to buy and run as gas boilers” within the decade, fulfilling the ambition to have no more gas boilers be sold by 2035.
In order to achieve the NDC set for the Paris Agreement, and to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050, the European Commission proposed the “Fit for 55” package in December 2019, committing to reduce carbon emissions by 55% of the 1990 levels by 2030. The package, with proposals to revise and update EU legislation, was formally adopted into the European Climate Law, and came into effect in July 2021. Amongst the numerous changes to EU members’ rules and standards in many aspects such as their trading system and energy taxations, recasting the energy efficiency directive and revising the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will have fossil fuels in heating and cooling purposes phased out by 2040, with at least 40 million existing buildings switching to heat pumps. To give incentive and financial support for such transitions, the European Council also proposed the Social Climate Fund, allowing up to €65 billion of funding for vulnerable households and micro-enterprises of EU member states to acquire low-carbon, high efficiency heating and cooling devices.
United States of America
As soon as the U.S. re-joined the Paris Agreement in 2021, the National Climate Task Force was created, and set its NDC to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% of the 2005 levels in 2030. Then, to lay out the means for the U.S. to reach the ultimate goal of net-zero emissions no later than 2050, the Long-Term Strategy of the United States was published. First, during the transitions in the decade of the 2020 going towards the NDC in 2030, a multi-pronged approach involving the private sector and all levels of government was implemented. Regarding buildings, the priority would be to rapidly improve energy efficiency, making clean and efficient appliances such as heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and efficiency retrofits affordable. While regarding the industry, increased use of industrial heat pumps for processes that require low-to-medium-temperature heat could aid in decarbonisation. Recognising the efficiency of heat pumps, boosting of sales and rapid deployment of heat pumps are expected and planned to be carried out from 2030 onwards to reach net-zero emission in 2050.