Hundreds of thousands of homes and commercial properties could soon be heated by energy coming from the ground, according to a report from the Environment Agency.
So far, there are only around 8,000 ground source heat pumps installed in the UK, a much smaller number than other European countries, but a significant increase on last year when there were 4,000.
However, the Environment Agency has said that 320,000 could be installed by 2020, and if support support is given from the Renewable Heat Incentive which comes in in 2012, that number could rise to 1M. The incentive would see home owners and businesses paid for generating renewable heat.
It is hoped that the renewable energy source could be implemented in 40% of commercial buildings and more than 1 in 10 homes, but even if it remains at only 320,000 homes and businesses it could still provide the 30% of renewable heat needed to hit 2020 targets.
Tony Grayling, head of climate change and sustainable development at the Environment Agency, said: “Ground source heating is a rapidly growing technology that has the potential to produce at least 30% of the country’s renewable heat needs, but it needs financial support in order to grow.
“We would like to see this technology given adequate financial support through the new renewable heat incentive to meet its full potential in the UK.”