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Promising policies and revised regulation: the European heat pump market is warming up

It’s been a busy month for the Electrification of Heat Service. We have recently published our latest heat pump country reports focusing on France, Italy and Germany and have already had the chance to discuss some of the findings  at our recent European Heat Summit.

The results of our recent research and the forecasts we’ve made suggest a tentatively positive outlook for the European heat pump market. We have seen growth in some segments of the heat pump market in these three countries, as displayed in the graph below. The arrows show the expected direction of growth over the next few years.

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Wave of new, renewed, and extended incentives to improve heat pump prospects in Europe

With renewable heat moving ever higher up the political agenda in Europe, heat pumps look to be benefiting already

Across Europe’s five largest heating markets (where almost 5 million heating systems, equivalent to more than 60% of the European total, are sold annually), there is a wave of renewed and extended support measures that look likely to improve the prospects for heat pumps.

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Why Italy favours gas for heating

Even though Italy can boast that it is gearing up to implement Europe’s strong RES directive regulations sooner than other countries (a step that will improve prospects for low carbon technologies in the new build sector) – our Roadmap Service research indicates that this is merely the silver lining on a very foreboding cloud. Many other important factors fail to support decarbonising the residential heating sector in Italy.

Cracking the retrofit sector remains the key challenge, and we believe that gas based low carbon technologies represent the most promising solution. Market dynamics strongly favour gas, especially in the short to medium term:

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Italy: A huge residential boiler market, but is there an opportunity for low carbon?

We recently completed our Roadmap Service forecasts for Italy and, having now assessed a number of major European residential boiler markets and the opportunity they present for low carbon technologies, it’s clear that no two markets are the same. Italy is certainly unique!

With around 1 million residential scale heating appliance sales per year, Italy is a big boiler market – the majority of which are gas boilers. So it’s potentially a large market for developers of new heating technologies to target. But Italy is very different to other European markets in terms of: the mix of heating appliances installed; climate (influencing the choice & appeal of heating systems in the North versus the South); the policy framework for low carbon; & economy.

So, does a big boiler market = a big opportunity for low carbon?

Our Roadmap Service takes these factors into account and quantifies the significant role that boilers will continue to play in Italy to 2025. It also identifies clear opportunities for a number of low carbon technologies. A significant share of the heating market is up for grabs.

The figure below illustrates how the value of the heating market in Italy transforms to 2025 from our Roadmap Service forecasts. “Other” technologies (i.e. low carbon heating technologies such as heat pumps, hybrids, micro-CHP, solar etc.) double their market value to ~€2billion by 2025.

Breakdown of the value of the heating market in Italy today and in 2025.



What will drive this transformation in the value of the Italian residential heating market to 2025?

The key drivers that we see delivering this growth are:

1. A recovery in the new build market, which is almost non-existent today

2. Tightening and enforcement of building regulations

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