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Blue Feeling Surrounds Green Deal

The government’s decision not to include liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and oil fired boilers from the Green Deal causes consternation

The LPG industry trade association, UKLPG, has urged energy ministers to reconsider the decision to exclude oil and LPG boilers from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

“The decision to exclude LPG condensing boilers from the list of measures available under the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) is a missed opportunity to drive up household energy efficiency, cut energy bills and deliver significant environmental benefits to rural communities that don’t have access to the gas grid,” commented Rob Shuttleworth, Chief Executive, UKLPG.

Mr Shuttleworth argued that LPG was the lowest carbon of all of the off-grid conventional fuels and burned without the pollutants that other conventional and indeed some renewable fuels emitted. This policy decision was unfairly limiting the choice of consumers because they were not connected to the mains gas network.

“Rural off-grid consumers have to pay for both the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the GDHIF through their taxes, but with little prospect of being able to benefit – as those on the mains gas grid can – when, in fact, a new LPG condensing boiler will typically result in a 30% saving on fuel bills,” Mr Shuttleworth complained. “Indeed, we understand that one of the key reasons the Department for Environment and Climate Control (DECC) has chosen not to include LPG boilers as eligible systems within the GDHIF is because it wants to prioritise delivery of renewable heating systems to the off-grid sector.”

Mr Shuttleworth went on to explain that UKLPG disagreed with the rationale for this approach for three reasons

  • According to the Heating and Hot Water Council, approximately 80,000 oil and gas boilers are replaced in the rural sector each year. However, the RHI budget constraints will limit the number of systems that can be installed in the first year to less than a third of this replacement market, representing less than half a per cent of the total number off-grid homes. This means that ample potential exists for alternative carbon reduction technologies fuelled by LPG.
  • Analysis of the investment case for renewable heat shows that access to GDHIF for the LPG heating technology should not make a material difference to customer choice, but will give a greater number of people access to low carbon options when replacing inefficient boilers.
  • Off-grid properties tend to be less thermally efficient and are more likely to have an older standard efficiency boiler, yet they have received significantly lower support for energy improvements via policy intervention compared to on-grid properties.

“We are continuing talks with DECC to try to resolve the issue,” concluded Shuttleworth.

For its part, the government appeared adamant about its view. ‘The government fully recognises that LPG and oil, like other fossil fuels, will continue to play a part in the UK’s energy mix, while the way we heat our homes changes,’ stated Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Energy. ‘DECC has introduced the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme to support renewable heating systems. The domestic RHI is targeted predominately at off gas-grid households, by compensating for the additional costs faced when replacing an oil boiler with a renewable heating system. New incentives for oil and LPG boilers would undermine the balance struck in the design of the RHI, and potentially cause confusion for consumers.’

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