The number of heat pumps in use in the Netherlands rose almost 50% last year as thousands of homeowners switched from gas-fired central heating.
However, schools, hospitals and other public buildings were slower to make the change, with an increase of just 12%, indicating a slowdown, national statistics agency CBS said on Monday.
In total, 368,000 new heat pumps were installed last year, of which 325,000 were placed in private homes. Some 1.3 million heat pumps are now in use, accounting for 6% of renewable energy usage.
The government wants all households to transfer from traditional heating systems as part of plans to halt the use of natural gas in the Netherlands by 2050 and has said all new heating installed after 2026 should be powered by heat pumps.
However, a shortage of engineers to install the systems has proved a stumbling block, as has the price and the amount of space the equipment takes up.
A hybrid heat pump costs between €5,000 and €7,000, around three times the price of a gas boiler. Households can recover around one-third of the cost through subsidies, but many homes will also need to be better insulated before owners feel the benefit in lower heating bills.
Home owners with heat pumps also face far higher energy bills because they will not benefit as much as mixed energy households from the government’s cap on prices. MPs have urged the cabinet to take the position of heat pump owners into account when finalising its energy cap deal.
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