Over the past year, we’ve been looking into the decarbonisation of the UK, from the alternatives available to what it means for the general public and manufacturers alike. Now, we’re looking at what gas engineers themselves think about the switch.
Depending on their speciality and how long they’ve been in the gas industry, opinions and plans vary widely. Some engineers aren’t planning on doing anything differently, while others are looking to future-proof their careers.
There are plenty of options available for engineers, and it comes down to personal choice based on individual situations. So, how have engineers responded to the decarbonisation plans for the UK?
Is Gas Going Anywhere?
The first question on everyone’s mind is, is gas going anywhere any time soon?
We wanted to know where engineers believe gas will be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. A staggering 70% disagreed, believing that gas boilers will be around for a long time to come.
Considering the coverage given to gas alternatives and going green, it’s interesting to hear that those in the industry aren’t convinced it’ll happen anytime soon. And we have to agree.
Homeowners are continuing to have gas boilers installed in their properties. Currently, there are 23 million of them in homes throughout the UK (Source: The CCC), with the number continuing to rise. With a 10-15 year lifespan of boilers, we’re looking around 2035 before the boilers being installed now need replacing.
Engineers Response To Decarbonisation
There is, however, a difference between those who are just entering the industry compared to those who have been in it for years.
It was a 50/50 split when we asked engineers if they believed the move to low-carbon would impact them. With the Prime Minister considering delaying the gas ban until 2040 (Source: Energy Live News), many current gas engineers will retire before their careers can be affected by the ban.
Upskilling is on the cards for those who want to expand their skillset and offer more services to customers.
When asked what they plan to do career-wise should gas boilers become a thing of the past, the majority of engineers said they’ll look into renewables. Solar and heat pumps were a popular option, while others plan to focus on Hydrogen.
Interestingly, some engineers claimed they would learn a new trade altogether while others would change careers entirely.
Any changes in the industry will ultimately come down to the government.
The public and manufacturers are welcoming the move toward decarbonisation and a greener future. However, they can’t do it without assistance.
With renewable energy often being more costly than gas boilers, many homeowners cannot afford it.
Heat pumps can cost upwards of £14,000, while solar panels can cost anything between £6000 and £8000. A stark contrast to the £1000-£1500 people pay for boilers. The government need to offer grants and incentives to make the switch to greener energy more accessible.
Many people, including 86% of the engineers asked, don’t believe the government are doing enough to support the switch.
What Does The Future Look Like?
It doesn’t look like gas is going anywhere for a while, and as such, many engineers don’t need to take any action. There are enough gas appliances around to keep them in work for many years to come.
However, although plans and proposals are ever-changing, we’re inevitably moving closer to decarbonisation. As a result, engineers want to get ahead and meet demand by future-proofing their careers.
Regardless, engineers have their pick of the bunch with a range of gas alternatives growing in popularity. Some are looking to specialise in one option, while others are looking to upskill in the trades to expand their skill set further.
Only time will tell where the industry is headed, which is why gas engineers must stay up-to-date with the latest plans and developments.