The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) and the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP) have released a report that reveals the huge potential energy and emissions savings offered by heat pumps in Australia.
Harnessing heat pumps for net zero: The role of heat pumps in saving energy and cutting emissions spotlights the critical role of heat pumps in achieving Australia’s commitment of reaching net zero by 2050. It finds that heat pumps could deliver 747 Mt CO2e of emissions reductions between now and 2050, made up of 391 Mt CO2e in industrial processes, 260 Mt CO2e in residential buildings, and 96 Mt CO2e in commercial buildings. The total is equivalent to about one and a half years of Australia’s total emissions.
“Across all sectors examined, heat pumps can achieve potential cumulative energy savings of up to 14,391 PJ to 2050, with the added benefit of reducing exposure to volatile global gas markets,” reads the report. “Importantly, heat pumps can take advantage of Australia’s decarbonising grid by using energy when renewable generation is plentiful, ensuring we electrify intelligently and only pay for the generation, network and storage infrastructure that we actually need.”
In the forward of the report, A2EP Chair Kylie Hargreaves and EEC President Mary Stewart note that, for the first time, the publication gives a sense of the size of the emissions reduction prize.
“But realising it will require sustained effort, with a focus on policy and deployment,” they write.
“We are starting from a low base, with one exception: reverse-cycle air conditioners are very common in Australian households. However, use of heat pumps for hot water, space heating and low temperature process heat is lagging other parts of the world. Further, deploying mature heat pump technologies now will mean we are well placed to adopt emerging technologies as they become available, including higher temperature applications in industry.
“Time is of the essence – focusing on deploying heat pumps in the three sectors examined in this report by 2030 will help us quickly develop the skills and supply chains we need, maximise cumulative emissions reductions to 2050, and ensure heat pumps play their part in delivering a prosperous, net zero Australia.”
The full report is available at the A2EP website.