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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Clean Air. Heat pumps. Changes to the program are coming

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The lack of quality requirements for heat pumps has led to the market being flooded with inefficient devices from China – producers argued in the Parliament. Emil Świerczyński, director at the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW), said that changes to the Clean Air program are being prepared.

On Wednesday, during the session of the Parliamentary Committee for Energy, Climate and State Assets, MPs learned about the problems of the domestic industry of heating devices producing, among others, heat pumps and pellet boilers in connection with the Clean Air program.

“We have become the largest importer of pumps in Europe”

President of the Chamber of Commerce for Devices Renewable energy Adam Nocoń said that in 2023, the number of employees in the industry decreased by about 10,000. The reason given was that companies cannot withstand unfair competition from importers of cheap but ineffective devices with China.

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Nocoń warned that if actions are not taken quickly to change this situation, more than 1,000 people may lose their jobs in the first quarter of this year. people. He emphasized that in the second and third quarter of 2024 there may be a collapse of the Polish heating equipment industry.

Nocoń pointed out that customers who bought Chinese heat pumps were misled by traders offering such products at prices even reaching the maximum amount of subsidy granted under the Clean Air program, i.e. PLN 35,000. PLN, while they were imported to Poland with prices ranging from PLN 1.5 thousand. up to 2 thousand hole. – It turned out that we became the largest importer of pumps in Europe – noted Nocoń.

Paweł Matusiak, consultant of the Chamber of Commerce for Renewable Energy Equipment, explained that this is the result of the assumption in the regulations of the Clean Air program that in order to obtain a subsidy, it is enough to present the manufacturer’s declaration regarding the efficiency of the heat pump without confirmation of it with a certificate.

– At the beginning of 2023, the unfair actions of Chinese manufacturers and overstatement of heat pump performance data were recognized, which stopped the development of the industry in Poland. This is not an isolated case of a Chinese manufacturer with some overstated parameters, which could suggest an error. We caught 9 Chinese heat pump manufacturers and two certified Chinese laboratories making the same mistake, Matusiak said.

He added that a total of 26 importers of heat pumps operating in this way and a total of 66 heat pump models that did not meet efficiency standards were identified in Poland. – This is the scale that the office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) should investigate. Notifications to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection were sent half a year ago, in July 2023, with no response to date, Matusiak said.

Changes in the Clean Air program

Emil Świerczyński, director of the individual beneficiary department at the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW), pointed out that it is not the Clean Air program that does not require confirmation of the parameters of heat pumps introduced to the market.

– The regulations on labeling and ecodesign do not require such documents in relation to these devices, but do require them in relation to other renewable energy devices, including pellet boilers. The Clean Air Program specifies requirements regarding the energy efficiency class of heat pumps, but we rely on what is on the label and product card – he added, admitting that there are cases in which manufacturers declare false data regarding the efficiency class of heat pumps.

He informed that in December 2023, based on consensus with the industry, appropriate solutions were proposed for the Clean Air program.

– Tomorrow, at the meeting of the management board of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, the adoption of this change will be considered. As a result, the regulations of the Customer Service List (list of green devices and materials – editor) will change. With regard to heat pumps, we will impose requirements that market regulations do not impose on these devices today. We will require that for each heat pump that receives funding from the Clean Air program, the manufacturer or importer must submit tests performed in an accredited European laboratory, confirming the operational parameters of this heat pump – said Świerczyński.

Clean Air – confirmation from the ministry

Agnieszka Sosnowska, director of the air protection department of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, confirmed that the ministry had received a change to the Clean Air program, which took into account some of the demands of the renewable energy heating equipment industry.

– In particular, regarding stronger positioning of the list of green devices and materials (ZUM), maintained by the Institute of Environmental Protection, after providing relevant documents and test results – confirming that the devices that will be distributed under the program will be absolutely reliable, meeting the expectations of adaptation to climatic zones – Sosnowska informed. – The Minister of Climate and Environment gave a positive opinion on these changes – she added.

In October 2023, Vice-President of the National Fund for Protection and Environment (NFOŚiGW), Paweł Mirowski, informed that he had sent a letter to the Ministry of Climate and Environment regarding recommended changes to the Clean Air program regarding co-financing the replacement of heat sources with heat pumps.

Mirowski explained that for some time the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management has been carrying out work and industry consultations aimed at eliminating unfavorable phenomena on the heat pump market in Poland. – The point is to exclude the possibility of granting subsidies for devices whose declared technical data do not correspond to actual parameters – he emphasized then.

Wave of applications for Clean Air grants

The Clean Air Program – with a budget of PLN 103 billion – is the largest anti-smog program in Poland. Owners of single-family houses can receive funds to replace non-ecological heat sources, as well as to improve the energy efficiency of the building, e.g. by insulating it.

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management announced at the end of January that over 770,000 applications have been submitted to the program so far. applications for nearly PLN 22.3 billion in funding. Over 655,000 were also signed. contracts worth over PLN 17.5 billion. The beneficiaries received PLN 8.8 billion.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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