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Europe’s Heat Pump Sales Drop for the First Time in a Decade

Withdrawal of government support, lower natural gas prices, and high interest rates led to the first annual drop in European sales of heat pumps in a decade, data from the European Heat Pump Association showed on Tuesday.

In 14 European counties, heat pump sales dropped by around 5% last year compared to 2022, from 2.77 million to 2.64 million units. This reverses the trend of the last decade, where combined sales increased annually, the association said.

Sales of heat pumps fell in France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Austria, and Switzerland. Heat pump sales rose in Portugal, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany, but not enough to offset the decline in the other markets.

Even in countries with overall growth in 2023, quarterly sales declined towards the end of 2023, the association said, noting that “Market analysts expect this downward trend to continue way into 2024.”

High interest rates and changing national policy measures have unsettled investors and consumers, as some governments restricted or removed support for heat pump purchases last year. Natural gas prices also dropped in 2023 compared to the records seen in 2022, and reversed the rise in heat pump sales.

“With the price of fossil gas coming down, and electricity often carrying a tax burden, electricity prices are sometimes as much as four times those of gas,” the European Heat Pump Association said.

The organization called for EU action to support heat pump sales to avoid putting the EU’s climate goals at risk. The drop in sales in 2023 comes as the EU’s Heat Pump Action Plan, due to be published in early 2024 to support the sector, is delayed by the European Commission until ‘a time to be decided’, the European Heat Pump Association said.  

“What’s now vital is a compass in the form of the EU Heat Pump Action Plan and subsequent national plans. These will steady the waters,” said Thomas Nowak, secretary general at the European Heat Pump Association.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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