Green transition? Heat pump sales are plummeting

Quarterly heat pump sales figures in Europe show a decline of 14% compared to the previous year quarter.
The industry attributes this contraction to political uncertainty and falling gas prices.
However, this decline represents a significant challenge, considering that the energy used for heating and cooling the European Union's more than 100 million buildings constitutes almost 50% of the bloc's final energy consumption.
In the third quarter of 2022, approximately 565,000 heat pumps were sold in Europe.
A year later, that figure dropped to about 485,000, a decrease of 14%.
The most significant declines were recorded in Finland and Denmark, traditionally robust markets.
Solid sales in Germany (120,000) and the Netherlands (38,000) supported the overall quarterly result.
The European Heat Pump Manufacturers' Association (EHPA) attributes the decline in sales to mixed messages from politicians, as in the case of the heat pump controversy in Germany, and to the massive decline in natural gas prices.
Dutch price tracker TTF reports prices three times lower than a year earlier, approaching pre-crisis levels.
The decline in heat pump sales poses a threat to the EU's ability to meet its climate targets for 2030 and beyond.
One of the most at-risk targets is the installation of 30 million heat pumps by 2030, as part of REPowerEU; the EHPA says 60 million is needed to eliminate the bloc's dependence on Russian gas.
Thomas Nowak, general secretary of the EHPA, says policy should aim to reduce the cost of electricity for residential, commercial and industrial applications to no more than double the price of fossil gas.
However, previous attempts to correct the price imbalance between natural gas and electricity have failed, with the EU's electricity tax framework stalled due to divergences between member countries.

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