Graphic: Policy challenges for heat pump deployment in China

Key policy challenges for heat pumps

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  • Affordability challenges, particularly for rural households
  • Limited targeted subsidy support for heat pumps
  • Low awareness of benefits among residential consumers
  • Energy efficiency labels inconsistent across technologies
  • Absence of specific long-term efficiency benchmark
  • Limited thermal performance requirements in buildings
  • Poor insulation and low airtightness in rural areas

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  • Set targets for heat pump deployment in line with China’s 30-60 targets
  • Phase down subsidies for fossil fuel heating technologies, freeing up resources for promoting clean heating solutions
  • Limited focus on heat pumps in industry efficiency plans
  • Few incentives for waste heat recovery in light industry, chemicals and pulp & paper sectors
  • Low awareness and adoption of heat pumps in industry
  • High costs for installation, operations and maintenance
  • Difficult to standardise; need for tailoring to specific processes
  • Limited R&D and demonstration projects

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Supply chain

  • Lack of integration in national energy and carbon neutrality plans
  • Absence of specific long-term targets and definitions for heat pump deployment
  • Insufficient data collection on deployment and market trends
  • Lack of incentives for manufacturers and utilities
  • Skills gaps for installation, operations and maintenance
  • Limited consideration of refrigerants in heat pump design
  • Distribution grid bottlenecks and limited availability of dynamic electricity pricing

There are multiple technology, policy, financing and behavioural challenges that could limit adoption of heat pump technologies at a broader scale.