Jan Rosenow, Europe director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, which aims to accelerate the shift to “green” energy, welcomed the UK being the first country in the world to ban the installation of new fossil heating systems.
But he said funding for only 30,000 homes a year to benefit would just support current installation levels, and would fall short of the government’s target to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.
Ed Miliband, shadow business secretary, said: “As millions of families face an energy and cost-of-living crisis, this is a meagre, unambitious and wholly inadequate response.”
Aside from the grants paying for systems to help people now, Johnson is trying to stimulate the market to help bring costs down, reducing the need for subsidies to bridge the affordability gap.
The government said it wanted to make heat pumps cost the same to buy and run as gas boilers by 2030, with big cost reductions of between a quarter and a half by 2025.
There is also a £60 million innovation fund to make clean heat systems smaller and easier to install and cheaper to run.
Greg Jackson, chief executive and founder of Octopus Energy, said that when the grant scheme launches, the company will install heat pumps at about the same cost as gas boilers and had begun training 1,000 engineers a year.
He said it would help kickstart a cheap, clean heating revolution, and scaling up the technology and supply chain in Britain would mean companies such as Octopus would soon be able to install heat pumps without government support.
“Electric heat pumps are more efficient, safer and cleaner than gas boilers and can help make homes more comfortable with less energy.
“Today we’ve crossed a massive milestone in our fight against climate change and to reduce Britain’s reliance on expensive, dirty gas,” he said.