Utility Week

Uberflip 17 01 14

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/241939

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 31

Policy & Regulation This week Hard-to-treat homes are the first to suffer as Eco funding is scaled back to ease energy bills Changes to Eco see suppliers scrap work Energy suppliers are cancelling energy efficiency schemes following the government's proposed changes to the Energy Company Obligation (Eco). One high-profile project affected is a solid wall installaNot so solid: insulation contracts abandoned tion scheme in Nottingham. A total of 4,700 homes were set to benefit from the British Gas scheme, but 1,900 properties will now miss out. A spokesperson from British Gas said: "These changes [to Eco] mean we can no longer fund some projects." A 90-day notice period has been issued by the supplier, while the council has stated that anyone who has paid for and not received insulation will be refunded. British Gas said the proposed changes made it necessary to review its Eco contracts to ensure it was delivering them in the most cost-efficient manner. However, the supplier added it was looking at "how we might move forward with a new programme if at all possible". Jonathan Reynolds MP, part of the shadow energy and climate change team, said: "At the end of last year, David Cameron failed to stand up to the energy companies and announced substantial cuts to the Eco scheme. Now we are seeing the harsh reality of this decision." The proposed changes will allow energy suppliers to insulate easy-to-treat cavity walls and lofts as part of their Eco targets, while adding a target for a minimum of 100,000 homes to be fitted with solid wall insulation. A spokesperson from the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Energy companies are evidently needing to adjust to the new targets. But Eco is not going away, it is being extended to 2017." MB Energy UK trails rest of Europe in EfW The UK is playing catch-up with other European countries in the development of energy-fromwaste (EfW) facilities, according to three government ministers. Business and energy minister Michael Fallon, water inister m Dan Rogerson and climate change minister Greg Barker all appeared in front of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on Tuesday and discussed the UK's bioeconomy. Barker told peers that other countries have a longer record in developing EfW facilities and that historical concerns about incineration have hampered its development in the UK. He added: "There is still a significant community resistance to energy-from-waste projects and that to a large part rests on the history of EfW projects. "We are very clear there is a much greater role we can do and by comparison to Europe we are playing catch-up." Barker also told peers that up to two million tonnes of wood that currently goes into landfill could be diverted to "energy recovery". Rogerson said European countries have got ahead of the UK in developing their bioeconomy because they have had the structures in place to do so. He said: "The fact that the feed- in tariff has been in operation longer in other countries has led to more anaerobic digestion in other countries such as Germany." Energy UK low-carbon work has hit 'critical mass' Low-carbon research and development has hit a "critical mass" in the UK, MPs have heard this week. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee has been told that the low-carbon innovation sector within the UK has benefited from the financial and structural support provided by the government. Professor Jim Skea, Research Councils UK Energy Strategy Fellow and professor of sustainable energy at Imperial College London, told MPs: "I think with the institutional arrangements we've got at the moment we are beginning to get a critical mass in terms of scale that is needed to actually make a difference in terms of energy innovation. "We are making steps to join up what is quite a complicated landscape." David Clarke, chief executive of the Energy Technologies Institute, agreed with Skea, and added that a focus on specific areas has "enabled us to develop these critical mass centres of capabilities" within universities and the industry. Political Agenda Mathew Beech The UK is going "all out for shale", according to David Cameron on Monday. Fracking the as yet untapped reserves of shale gas that sit below the northwest and southern England will lead to a boom for British business, and bring energy bills down, if he and chancellor George Osborne are to be believed. Number 10 and Decc announced that local councils will be able to keep all the business rates from fracking sites. "The Tories are pushing the shale gas agenda forward" This is in addition to the potential £1.1 billion that community funds set up around future fracking wells could receive. Opponents to shale gas call this a bribe for communities to encourage them to accept the drilling pads, although it must be noted that local authorities hosting renewable generation sources, such as wind turbines, get similar benefits. The Tories are pushing the shale gas agenda forward. Cameron said: "It will mean more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country." Michael Fallon, wearing both his Decc and BIS hats, added: "Local councils and people will benefit from millions of pounds of additional investment." Labour is less full-on with its support for fracking, and claims the Tories are overstating the benefits and portraying shale as a "silver bullet" to the UK's energy issues. On its own, shale gas is not the solution, but it could "help improve our energy security" by replacing our North Sea reserves, said shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex, who added it is right that those living close to fracking wells "are able to share in its rewards". UTILITY WEEK | 17th - 23rd January 2014 | 13

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Uberflip 17 01 14