Octopus Energy and Legal & General invest in ground source heat pumps

Octopus Energy’s generation arm and Legal & General Capital are turbocharging Britain’s heat pump rollout by investing £70 million in the Kensa Group.

This marks the biggest investment ever made in ground source tech in Britain. It will allow Kensa to rapidly expand and install 50,000 ground source heat pumps a year by 2030. The move will drive down costs of heat pumps and reduce reliance on polluting gas boilers.

The UK is targeting 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028 as part of wider efforts to decarbonise the economy. Unlocking investment through deals like this will help rapidly grow the country’s heat pump industry, meet net zero targets and deliver jobs. Kensa expects its growth to create over 7,000 green jobs in the UK by 2030.

By harnessing freely available heat energy in the ground or water, electrically powered ground source heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse. They produce around four units of clean heat for every one unit of electricity they consume, making them much more efficient than gas boilers. They’re recognised by the government as a key solution to tackling heating emissions and weaning the country off gas.

This investment will make heat pumps even more accessible to more properties, including retrofits for social housing, terraced housing and non-domestic buildings. Finance will also be provided for Kensa to offer house builders, housing associations and non-domestic customers their ‘Networked Heat Pumps’ solution at a lower cost. This effectively creates a new renewable asset class, kick-starting a sector that could exceed £1bn by 2030.

Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation, says, “The heat pump revolution is off to a flying start: it’s a tried and tested replacement for gas boilers and can drive down consumers’ energy bills for good. Backing Kensa will help rapidly expand Britain’s fast-growing ground source heat pump industry. This deal is a huge milestone for our exciting new energy transition fund, as we invest in ambitious companies rolling out tech to turbocharge the clean energy shift.”

Dr Matthew Trewhella, CEO of The Kensa Group, says, “This is a monumental moment for ground source heat pumps. This investment will help unlock Kensa’s vision of a mass transition to low carbon heating by replacing the gas grid with its 21st-century equivalent – an ambient temperature heat network. Our approach harnesses the power of investment capital funding infrastructure, reduces the strain on our electricity grid and enables a just transition – keeping heating costs low and addressing fuel poverty simultaneously with climate change mitigation. We’re extremely proud to partner with Octopus Energy and Legal & General Capital who show incredible leadership in bringing about our low carbon energy future.”

John Bromley, Managing Director – Clean Energy, at Legal & General Capital, says, “Legal & General Capital continues to invest in leading energy transition businesses capable of delivering significant economic, social, and environmental benefits for our economy. LGC first partnered with Kensa in April 2020 with the shared aim of scaling up the deployment of ground source heat pumps in the UK through their long-term solution that is highly efficient and reliable. Since our initial investment, they have grown quickly, opening a new factory and delivering some prestigious new-build and retrofit installations across the UK. We are delighted to make our third significant investment in Kensa together with Octopus Energy Generation, recognising the significant role Kensa can play in reducing UK dependence on natural gas through a transition to low-carbon heating.”

This latest Kensa deal heralds Octopus Energy Group’s entry into the ground source heat pump market, and complements Octopus’ existing air source heat pump expertise. Octopus’ heat pump R&D centre is leading the way in creating a thriving low carbon heating economy, from training, engineering and installation.

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