Action on Energy Efficiency in Business & the Public Sector
South West Energy & Environmental Management Groups
SW EEMGs are independent forums providing continuing professional development, information exchange, specialist training and networking for professionals & managers in industry, commerce and the public sector.
Comprehensive information etc
For comprehensive information and links to local, regional and national support programmes and schemes covering low carbon issues on www.oursouthwest.com visit the 'Business' page. It
also features special management guides including the "Effective Energy Management Guide".
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Regen SW (external site) - the SW's sustainable energy agency with responsibility for driving forward the sustainable energy agenda (including renewable energy) in the South West through promotion, research and advice (Note: Regen SW have an interactive
online map showing renewable energy installations in the South West).
- South West renewable electricity, heat and on-site generation targets for 2020. REvision 2020 took forward the REvision 2010 target setting report for renewable electricity published in 2004. As there was a
change of Government after the REvision 2010 and 2020 reports were published, these are retained on www.oursouthwest.com for reference only.
The South West Bioheat Programme
- aims to stimulate the bioheat industry in the South West through increasing the number of systems on the ground, supporting fuel suppliers and providing recognised training programmes across the region. The programme was launched in April 2007 with
funding by the South West RDA and the Forestry Commission. For details on Regen SW's website click here: Technologies - Biomass.
An analysis of the business and environmental potential for on-farm anaerobic digestion as a renewable energy source in the SW region
- report funded by Defra published May 2007. To see report click here: on-farm anaerobic digestion (pdf 1.6Mb).
Woodfuel - SW Regional Woodfuel Framework 2005 (pdf on external site) - hosted on
the Forestry Commission's website. The purpose of this framework is to provide a focus for all those interested in developing the potential of woodfuel in the South West.
Tidal power & the River Severn
Following the change of Government in May 2010, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced on 18 October 2010 that The Severn study had found that there was no strategic case for major public sector investment in a large-scale energy
project in the Severn estuary at this time. It would be very costly to deliver and very challenging to attract the necessary investment from the private sector alone.
The Severn Tidal Power feasibility study showed that a tidal power scheme in the Estuary could cost in excess of £30bn, making it high cost and high risk in comparison to other ways of generating electricity. The report did recommend that a Severn tidal project should not be ruled out as a longer term option if market conditions change, but noted significant uncertainty over complying with regulation and that a scheme would
fundamentally change the natural environment of the estuary.
Commenting on the Severn study, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne added: "The study clearly shows that there is no strategic case at this time for public funding of a scheme to generate energy in the Severn estuary. Other low carbon options represent a better deal for taxpayers and consumers. However, with a rich natural marine energy resource, world leading tidal energy
companies and universities, and the creation of the innovative Wave Hub facility, the area can play a key role in supporting the UK's renewable energy future."
BACKGROUND (Tidal power & the River Severn)
The tides in the Severn estuary are the second highest in the world. A major study led by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) was published on 1 October 2007. It looked at issues related to harnessing tidal power in the UK. The SDC laid down tough conditions which a Severn Barrage would have to meet in order to be considered sustainable. The SDC
also outlined how a commitment to creating compensatory habitats should be seen as an environmental opportunity, combining climate change adaptation with coastal realignment plans to deal with increased risk of flooding.
A proposed shortlist of 5 schemes to generate clean, green electricity from the power of the tides in the Severn estuary was unveiled by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on 26 January 2009. The shortlist included a mixture of barrages and innovative lagoon schemes.
The largest proposal being taken forward in the shortlist had the potential to generate nearly 5% of the UK's electricity from a domestic, low carbon and sustainable source. The Government-led feasibility study prior to the announcement investigated a list of ten options, gathering information on the costs, benefits and environmental challenges of using the estuary to generate power.
The proposed shortlist of 5 projects was:
- Cardiff Weston Barrage: A barrage crossing the Severn estuary from Brean Down, near Weston super Mare to Lavernock Point, near Cardiff. Its estimated capacity is over 8.6 Gigawatts - twice that of the UK's largest fossil fuel power plant - and it could generate nearly 5% of UK electricity.
- Shoots Barrage: Further upstream of the Cardiff Weston scheme. Capacity of 1.05GW, similar to a large fossil fuel plant.
- Beachley Barrage: The smallest barrage on the proposed shortlist, just above the Wye River. It could generate 625MW.
- Bridgwater Bay Lagoon: Lagoons are radical new proposals which impound a section of the estuary without damming it. This scheme is sited on the English shore between east of Hinkley Point and Weston super Mare. It could generate 1.36GW.
- Fleming Lagoon: An impoundment on the Welsh shore of the estuary between Newport and the Severn road crossings. It too could generate 1.36GW.
Further information can be found on the DECC website: Severn Tidal Power - DECC.
Note: A barrage would require compliance with a wide range of environmental legislation, including the EU Habitats and Wild Birds directives. The Severn Estuary is of National, European and International nature conservation significance - and so has been afforded the corresponding levels of legal protection. It is designated as both a Ramsar Site (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, signed
in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971) and Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Habitats Directive and is in the process of being designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Estuary also comprises a series of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
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Housing, Communities & Fuel Poverty
Energy Saving Advice Service (from the Energy Saving Trust and Careline Services). This service gives the public advice on how to save energy in their homes and businesses in England and Wales - Tel: 0300 123 1234 (replaces previous 0800 512 012 helpline). Advice provided is free, calls charged at the standard national rates.
The Energy Saving Trust - free, independent and local energy-saving advice
National Energy Action (NEA) - NEA develops and promotes energy efficiency services in partnership with central and local government, utilities, housing providers and health services to tackle the
heating and insulation problems of low-income households.
Code for Sustainable Homes (on the Planning Portal)
The Code is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. The Code aims to reduce our carbon emissions and create homes that are more
sustainable. From 1 May 2008 it became mandatory for all new homes to be rated against the Code and include a Code or nil-rated certificate within the Home Information Pack.
Zero Carbon Hub - The Zero Carbon Hub's purpose is to facilitate the mainstream delivery of low and zero carbon homes. It is a public/private partnership established to take day-to-day operational responsibility for co-ordinating delivery of low and zero carbon new homes.
"Low Carbon Housing & Fuel Poverty Strategy" for the South West.
The strategy & action plan was adopted by regional partners in early 2007. It can be downloaded from here:-
LCHFP Strategy & Action Plan (pdf 316kb)
LCHFP - Regional Targets Report (pdf 393kb)
LCHFP - Annexes to the Regional Targets Report (pdf 454kb)
Fuel Poverty Indicator. The fuel poverty indicator developed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy can be found at: http://www.fuelpovertyindicator.co.uk. This is a powerful tool for predicting levels of fuel poverty in each electoral ward in England, for informing policy and targeting programmes.
The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) (on DECC's website). The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) - which came into effect on 1 April 2008 to run until December 2012 - is an obligation on energy suppliers to achieve targets for promoting reductions in carbon emissions in the household
sector. It replaced the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC). In addition to the energy efficiency measures, suppliers can promote microgeneration measures; biomass community heating and CHP; and other measures for reducing the consumption of supplied energy. CERT has a focus on vulnerable consumers and includes new approaches to innovation and flexibility. Note. CERT is likely to be replaced or significantly changed by the Green Deal that commences in 2012.
Green Deal - is intended to revolutionise the energy efficiency of British properties. The Government is establishing a framework to enable private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, and to recoup payments through a charge in instalments on
the energy bill. A new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will integrate with the Green Deal, allowing supplier subsidy and Green Deal Finance to come together into one seamless offer to the consumer.
Warm Front - Warm Front is the Government's main grant-funded programme for tackling fuel poverty.
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- end of the first half of the Oil Age?
- end of the era of cheap energy?
(This article was last updated: September 2011)
"We may be sleepwalking into a problem which is actually going to be very serious"
- Lord Oxburgh, former non-executive chairman of Shell UK
"Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer
keep up with demand"
- Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell plc (January 2008)
Peak oil is the time when the maximum rate of the global production of oil, that is conventional crude oil, has been reached, recognising that it is a finite natural resource affected by the rate of depletion. The rate of depletion will be influenced by economic, market and policy developments that are uncertain.
No one knows for sure how much oil the world has with many geologists and oil industry experts having estimated that peak oil would be reached by 2020. However there is now a consensus that peak oil was reached at some point between 2004 and 2008, possibly during 2006.
Is the age of cheap energy over?
There is additional "oil" that raises world total oil production. It is not conventional crude but includes unconventional hydrocarbons, including natural gas liquids, "extra heavy" oil, synthetic oil made from Canadian tar sands, refinery gains,
liquids produced from the conversion of coal and natural gas, and biofuels. By the end of the 21st century, it is estimated that nearly all of the economically recoverable fossil fuels will be gone. Up until then, what remains of fossil fuels will increasingly be rationed by price. The increased use of renewable and alternative energy sources, energy efficiency gains, and global economic 'booms and busts' will affect the various fossil fuel depletion scenarios.
UK Continental Shelf oil production peaked in 1999 and the UK became a net importer of oil in 2009/10 (having been self-sufficient in oil since 1980). Global oil demand continues to rise partly because the rate of increase in major developing countries like China and India is accelerating. The 2008 global economic downturn reduced demand and therefore prices; but that situation
may only be temporary. As China and India continue to experience year on year high levels of 'energy hungry' economic growth the impact on world energy prices is likely to be upwards. The International Energy Agency has publicly stated that "the age of cheap energy is over" (findings from the World Energy Outlook presented at the Bridge Forum Dialogue in Luxembourg, 21 April 2011).
Peak oil brings to our attention the importance of the balance between demand and supply and how that relates to the trend in world production and prices after peak oil. These market adjustments have major implications
for how we travel and the production and transportation of food and other goods and services.
If global demand exceeds supply and oil prices consistently push higher, the knock-on effect on the economy could be significant. The market would react to offset some of the threat by encouraging new exploration and exploitation, generating
better and alternative technologies, and changing the pattern and structure of consumer demand.
However, timing and the effectiveness of the fiscal, monetary and regulatory policy response create uncertainty and suggest a possible danger of economic disruption.
It is difficult, therefore, to foresee whether adjustment will be positive (leading to a low carbon economy) or negative (high unemployment and disruption to the supply of goods and services) and whether it will be gradual shift - a soft landing - or
whether there will be a rapid and more significant impact on the world economy - a potential hard landing.
Market signals will help society adjust to these consequences but there is a need to prepare for non-market effects. Peak oil focuses attention on a wider issue that localities should take into account in future discussions and
plans concerning energy security, the creation of a low carbon and low oil economy, resource efficiency, and the implications for our future well being. Peak oil therefore has important implications for development which must be sustainable development that is resilient to a volatile energy market, thus including investment in alternative renewable
energy resources leading to greater energy self-sufficiency for local communities and for the UK.
Transition Towns: a local response to peak oil
There has been a growing number of South West towns and cities becoming 'Transition Towns' with the aim of engaging people in the
transition from an oil dependency to a low energy future with, for example, collaboration in drawing up 'Energy Descent Plans'. The Transition Network website is at http://www.transitionnetwork.org.
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Local (Sub-National) Strategies
that contribute to a 'Low Carbon South West'
Most local authorities in the South West of England at the County / Unitary level publish their environmental, climate change and energy and/or sustainability strategies, action plans or policies on their website.
The Links to Local Authorities and other local websites in the SW page on this website has a full list of SW Local Authorities from where you should be able to locate the strategy/policy for your own local authority.
Visit www.transitionnetwork.org also to see SW towns and cities planning for a low energy future in response to the challenge of peak oil.
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The 'Act on CO2' online CO2 calculator can be found at http://carboncalculator.direct.gov.uk/index.html. It enables people to work out their carbon footprint for 3 areas of lifestyle (home, electrical appliances, and personal travel) using
government-recognised data and calculations.
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Towards a low carbon South West
The South West accounts for about 8% (or 7.8 tonnes/person/year) of the UK's CO2 emissions (source: national statistics for 2008, DECC, published September 2010).
For the South West to become truly "low carbon" the widespread reduction of energy waste through energy efficiency in all sectors (domestic, industrial, commercial and public) and an increasingly rapid move away from carbon-based fossil fuels to renewable and less polluting
sources of energy will be required.
Note: In February 2007 Sustainability South West, the region's sustainable development champion body, published "A 10 year Regional Carbon Budget for the South West". This is currently archived here for future and ongoing regional/local
interest: 10 year SW carbon budget 2007- 2016 by SSW, February 2007 (pdf 175kb).
Low Carbon 'Firsts' in the South West
The region has played an important role in the UK's drive towards improving the efficiency of energy use and the development of renewable energy resources. These include:
- The Avon & Somerset Energy Management Group (June 1976) was the first to be established in the UK to promote good energy management practice in industry and commerce through information exchange, training and networking. Energy Management Groups in the South West became "Energy & Environmental Management Groups" during 1995/96 to reflect the wider interest and requirements of their members.
- Delabole Wind Farm, Cornwall (December 1991) - the first commercial operating wind farm in the UK.
- Compact Power's Advanced Thermal Process (February 2001) for the recycling and recovery of energy from waste using pyrolysis at Avonmouth. This demonstrator plant, a UK first to go on line, has proven the commercial efficacy of the technology to gain the confidence of the public and environmental bodies.
- The Holsworthy Biogas plant (May 2003) in North Devon was the first large scale operational anaerobic digestion plant in the UK. It converts animal and food waste into renewable electricity for the National Grid as well as producing bio fertiliser. The plant is capable of generating 2.2 megawatts of electricity per hour which is sufficient to maintain 1,000 households.
- The Tidal Stream Turbine 'Seaflow' (June 2003) successfully installed off the coast of Lynmouth, Devon. This single rotor 300 kW device was a world first and a test bed for further tidal turbines.
- Transition Network - helps communities deal with climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy (peak oil). The worldwide Transition Network started in the South West with Transition Town Totnes (TTT) in 2005/6. The Transition Network website is at http://www.transitionnetwork.org.
- The UK's first grain bio-ethanol plant at Henstridge, Somerset (January 2006) received planning permission from South Somerset District Council. Wessex Grain's bio-refinery will produce bio-ethanol from grain for use as a clean vehicle fuel, along with two main co-products in the form of an animal feed and bottled carbon dioxide for use in industrial applications.
- South West the UK's first Low Carbon Economic Area - (July 2009) announced by the Government, as part of the UK Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, this was to enable the region to build on regional business opportunities and skills. Low carbon strategic investment funding secured the go-ahead for the Wave Hub sub-sea socket off Cornwall and that will support other strategic marine energy projects. The South West was also identified as a strong contender for hosting several possible suitable hot rock sites.
- Wave Hub (September 2010) - a revolutionary renewable energy project 16 kilometres off the Cornish coast. It was the UK's first offshore facility for the demonstration and proving of the operation of arrays of wave energy generation devices. The hub acts as an offshore electrical "socket" connected to the national grid by an underwater cable. The hub was safely
installed on the seabed following a delicate operation to lower the 12-tonne hub into 55 metres of water, 16 kilometres offshore on 3rd September 2010. Wave Hub is a grid-connected offshore facility in South West England for the large scale testing of technologies that generate electricity from the power of the waves. It leases space to wave energy device developers and exists to support the development of marine renewable energy around the world. The wave
hub's own website is at http://www.wavehub.co.uk.
- South West is UK's first "Marine Energy Park" (January 2012). The South West Marine Energy Park "to speed up the progress of marine power development" stretches from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly. It is a collaborative partnership between national and local government, Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and industry including Cornwall's famous Wave Hub.
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National strategies, legislation & policy
There are several key national strategies that provide the framework for how the UK can move towards reducing the environmental impact of energy use and become a low carbon economy. The most recent are listed below (latest shown first). Some of the older announcements are shown here to provide an illustration of how energy policy has evolved in recent years to reflect the growing
awareness of the need for the UK's energy system to become low carbon and to provide better energy security.
Visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website where further information can be found including, for example, the National
Policy Statements (NPSs) on Energy Infrastructure (these are published at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/consents_planning/nps_en_infra/nps_en_infra.aspx).
Annual Energy Statement
This provides an annual progress report on delivery of the Government's energy policies: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/aes/aes.aspx.
Electricity market reform plans unveiled on 12 July 2011
With a quarter of the UK's generating capacity shutting down over the next ten years as old coal and nuclear power stations close, more than £110bn in investment is needed to build the equivalent of 20 large power stations and upgrade the grid, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as it launched the Electricity Market Reform White Paper on 12 July 2011.
In the longer term, by 2050, electricity demand is set to double, as we shift more transport and heating onto the electricity grid. Business as usual cannot be an option if the UK is to maintain a secure and reliable electricity supply system.
The Electricity Market Reform White Paper sets out key measures to attract investment, reduce the impact on consumer bills, and create a secure mix of electricity sources including gas, new nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage. The Renewables Roadmap published alongside the White Paper outlines a plan of action to accelerate renewable energy deployment - to meet the target of 15% of all energy by 2020 - while driving down costs.
Key elements of the reform package include:
- the announcement in Budget 2011 that the Government would put in place a Carbon Price Floor to reduce investor uncertainty, putting a fair price on carbon and providing a stronger incentive to invest in low-carbon generation now;
- the introduction of new long-term contracts (Feed-in Tariff with Contracts for Difference) to provide stable financial incentives to invest in all forms of low-carbon electricity generation. A contract for difference approach has been chosen over a less cost-effective premium feed-in-tariff - DECC will consult further on its proposals;
- an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) set at 450g CO2/kWh to reinforce the requirement that no new coal-fired power stations are built without CCS, but also to ensure necessary investment in gas can take place;
- investment of up to £30M to support innovation in the production of components over the next four years;
- Government has asked a new industry-led task force to reduce the costs of offshore wind to £100/MWh by 2020. That level of cost reduction should unlock the full potential of the UK's offshore resources, making it possible to deliver up to 18GW by 2020 and open up the 30 - 40GW of low carbon generation that will be necessary in the 2020s to keep the UK on track to deliver the 4th Carbon Budget; and
- a Capacity Mechanism, including demand response as well as generation, which is needed to ensure future security of electricity supply. DECC are seeking further views on the type of mechanism required.
The electricity market reform package will, according to Ministers, minimise the impact on bills by insulating the UK from volatile fossil fuel prices and providing investors with the certainty they need to raise capital more cheaply. DECC estimates that with the market left as it is now, domestic electricity bills will be around £200 higher in 2030 compared with today's average annual household bill (about £500). The market reform packages
limit this increase to £160, i.e. £40 lower than it would otherwise be.
The Renewables Roadmap sets out an action plan to accelerate the UK's deployment and use of renewable energy, and put us on the path to achieve our 2020 target, while driving down the cost of renewable energy over time. It identifies the eight technologies that have either the greatest potential to help the UK meet the 2020 target in a cost-effective and sustainable way, or offer great potential for the decades that follow. These technologies are:
onshore wind - offshore wind - marine energy - biomass electricity - biomass heat - ground source heat pumps - air source heat pumps - renewable transport.
Energy from wind, biomass and heat pumps are the leading contributors, including offshore wind - where the UK has abundant natural resource and is already the world's largest market. The remaining energy necessary to meet the 2020 target will come from technologies such as hydropower, solar PV, and deep geothermal heat and power.
The Government intends for legislation to reach the statute book by the end of the next session (by spring 2013) so that the first low-carbon projects can be supported under its provisions around 2014.
Energy policy of the UK Coalition Government
STATEMENT 18 OCTOBER 2010: A surge of investment in new energy sources will be needed to ensure our energy security and reduce reliance on fossil fuels in the decades ahead, DECC Secretary of State Chris Huhne announced on 18th October 2010.
The Government launched a consultation on the coalition's revised draft national policy statements on energy. They show that the Government expect over half the new energy generating capacity built in the UK by 2025 to come from renewable sources. A significant proportion of the remainder will come from low carbon sources such as nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.
The statements confirmed eight sites as potentially suitable for new nuclear power stations and ruled out three sites for the development of new nuclear power by 2025. This came alongside the publication of the feasibility study into a tidal energy project in the Severn estuary.
As part of a package of announcements to provide certainty across the nuclear industry, the Secretary of State also:
- announced the Regulatory Justification of two new nuclear reactor designs - Westinghouse's AP1000 and Areva's EPR;
- set out more detail on what will be required from new nuclear developers in terms of clean-up; and
- provided further detail on the Government's policy of no subsidy for new nuclear power.
Chris Huhne said: "I'm fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of nuclear which means we have neither. We urgently need investment in new and diverse energy sources to power the UK. We'll need renewables, new nuclear, fossil fuels with CCS, and the cables to hook them all up to the Grid as a large slice of our current generating capacity shuts down. The market needs certainty to make this investment happen, and we are determined to clear every obstacle in the way of this programme.
So today we are setting out our energy need which will help guide the planning process, so that if sound proposals come forward in sensible places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups. And I am making clear that new nuclear will be free to contribute as much as possible with the onus on developers to pay for the clean-up".
As part of the energy policy statement on 18th October 2010, the revised draft Nuclear National Policy Statement found the following sites potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations by 2025: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool, Borough of Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Glos.; Sellafield, Cumbria; sizewell, Suffolk; Wylfa, Isle of Anglesey.
The Climate Change Act 2008 established a new approach to managing and responding to climate change in the UK. The Act created a legally binding target to reduce the UK's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. To set the UK's trajectory to 2050 a carbon budgeting system which caps emissions over five year periods, with three budgets set at a time, has been introduced. Where
emissions rise in one sector, we will have to achieve corresponding falls in another.
In its December 2008 report the Committee on Climate Change advised on the level of the budgets for 2008-2012, 2013-2017, and 2018-2022. The Government accepted this advice. In April 2009 it announced carbon budgets and these passed into legislation in May 2009. The budgets set then were:
- Budget 1. 2008 - 2012: 3018 MtCO2e representing a 22% cut on 1990 levels
- Budget 2. 2013 - 2017: 2782 McCO2e representing a 28% cut on 1990 levels
- Budget 3. 2018 - 2022: 2544 McCO2e representing a 34% cut on 1990 levels
In line with the Committee's advice, the Government does not intend to use offset credits to meet these legislated budgets. It has legally committed to this for the first budget in the Climate Change Act.
In December 2010 the Committee advised on the level of Budget 4, 2023-27, and proposed a tightening to the second and third carbon budgets. In May 2011 the Government accepted the Committee's recommendation for the level of the 4th budget of 1950 MtCO2e over the years 2023-2027 representing a 50% cut on 1990 levels.
For further and the latest information click here: Committee on Climate Change - Carbon Budgets (external site).
Climate Change Act 2008 - the first of its kind in the world. It was enacted on 26 November 2008 and sets out a framework that will put Britain on the path to become a low-carbon economy.
Key points in the Climate Change Act 2008 include:
- Legally binding targets: Greenhouse gas emission reductions through action in the UK and abroad of at least 80% by 2050, and reductions in CO2 emissions of at least 26% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. The 2020 target will be reviewed soon after Royal Assent to reflect the move to all greenhouse gases and the increase in the 2050 target to 80%.
- A carbon budgeting system which caps emissions over five year periods, with three budgets set at a time, to set out our trajectory to 2050. The first three carbon budgets will run from 2008-12, 2013-17 and 2018-22, and set by 1 June 2009. The Government must report to Parliament its policies and proposals to meet the budgets as soon as practical after that.
- The creation of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a new independent, expert body to advise Government on the level of carbon budgets and where cost effective savings could be made. The Committee will submit annual reports to Parliament on the UK's progress towards targets and budgets.
- International aviation and shipping emissions - the Government will include international aviation and shipping emissions in the Act or explain why not to Parliament by 31 December 2012. The CCC is required to advise the Government on the consequences of including emissions from international aviation and shipping in the Bill's targets and budgets. Projected emissions from international aviation and shipping must be taken into account in making decisions on carbon budgets.
The Energy Act 2008, was enacted on 26 November 2008. It contained the legislative provisions required to implement UK energy policy following the publication of the Energy Review 2006 and the Energy White Paper 2007. This policy was driven by the two long-term energy challenges
faced by the UK: tackling climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and ensuring secure, clean and affordable energy.
Meeting the energy challenge (the 2007 Energy White Paper) - published 23 May 2007. This provides the Government's strategy for greater energy efficiency and a secure, low carbon energy mix for the long-term. Measures include:
- free smart meters on request, to show homeowners how much electricity they use (everyone to have a smart meter within 10 years);
- working with industry to "phase out" inefficient goods and energy-consuming standby switches;
- more demanding environmental standards for new build homes and other products (the Government wants all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 if practically possible);
- a three month deadline for Government consent decisions on large scale energy projects, pending more radical reforms set out in the Planning White Paper; and
- simplification of the energy market and licensing arrangements to assist microgenerators to sell excess electricity.
By 2015, the Government expects 15% of electricity supplies to come from renewable sources - triple the amount it provides today. Also announced in the White Paper was a public consultation on the Government's preliminary view that it is in the public interest to give private sector energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations. Energy companies were subsequently invited to bring forward
plans to build and operate new nuclear power stations as part of the UK's strategy for a secure, diverse, low carbon energy mix.
The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC - formerly the Energy Performance Commitment) applies mandatory emissions trading to cut carbon emissions from large commercial and public sector organisations. It covers around 10% of the UK economy wide emissions, and provides incentives for organisations to save money through energy efficiency. CRC came into force from April 2010 (based on
consumption in 2008) for business and public sector organisations consuming more than 6,000 MWh of half-hourly metered electricity.
Secure energy supplies
In 2006 the Government announced that it was to take steps to ensure it had the right framework for companies to invest to maximise production from UK oil and gas reserves, and to invest in new energy infrastructure and power stations in a timely way.
It will also continue international pressure to liberalise markets in the EU and ensure open and competitive access to energy reserves
elsewhere in the world.
The Energy Act 2008 (November 2008) implements the legislative aspects required for this.
The Stern Review of the economics of climate change - This major report of international significance was published on 30 October 2006. It examined the impacts and risks arising from uncontrolled climate change, and on the costs and opportunities associated with action to tackle it. The
report described climate change as the greatest market failure the world has seen and identified three elements of policy that are required for an effective response:
(1) carbon pricing, through taxation, emissions trading or regulation, so that people are faced with the full social costs of their actions. The aim should be to build a common global carbon price across countries and sectors.
(2) technology policy, to drive the development and deployment at scale of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency products, and
(3) action to remove barriers to energy efficiency, and to inform, educate and persuade individuals about what they can do to respond to climate change.
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European energy & climate change policy
There are several key European strategies that provide the framework for how Member States can move towards a low carbon economy. These are listed below (in date order, most recent first) and further details can be found on the EC Energy website.
EU Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050
Published in March 2011 by the European Commission, the 'Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050' describes a cost-effective pathway to achieve cuts of 80-95% on 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Based on cost-effectiveness analysis, the Roadmap is intended to guide sectoral policies, national and regional low-carbon strategies and long-term investments.
In order to be in line with the 80-95% overall GHG reduction objective by 2050, the Roadmap indicates that a cost effective and gradual transition would require a 40% domestic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 as a milestone for 2030, and 80% for 2050. The Roadmap can be found from this link: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/roadmap/index_en.htm
A package of measures aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 was approved by EU leaders in December 2008. Passed by the European Parliament, the package includes efficiency measures to cut energy consumption by 20% by 2020 relative to 1990 and brings in a key Directive to deliver a 20% energy contribution from renewable energy by 2020 - leading to the term 'EU 20/20/20'. Agreements on the
funding of carbon capture and storage (CCS), car emissions and road fuel were also reached.
EU leaders agree binding renewable energy targets
On 8 March 2007 the 27 EU Member States agreed to a 20% target for renewable fuel use by 2020. This is a binding target but the plan does allow flexibility in how each member state contributes to the overall EU target. EU leaders also agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020.
EU climate change proposals announced
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced plans to make Europe "the first economy for the low-carbon age" on 23 January 2008. The plans contain proposals to implement the decisions agreed by EU Heads of State and Government at the 2007 Spring European Council, including a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, increasing to 30% when
there is an international climate agreement; 20% of total EU energy consumption to come from renewables by 2020; and measures to support the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) including up to twelve CCS demonstration projects. Mr Barroso put the cost at 60bn euros a year until 2020. It would mean a rise in electricity prices of 10-15% but there would be less reliance on energy imports.
The proposals also put the EU Emissions trading Scheme (ETS) at the heart of EU climate policy, including establishing an EU-wide central cap on emissions covered by the EU ETS to 2020 and beyond.
For the UK, the Commission's proposals include:
- A reduction of 16% in UK greenhouse gas emissions from sectors not covered by the EU ETS by 2020 from 2005 levels;
- For 15% of the energy consumed in the UK to come from renewable sources by 2020;
- For 10% of road transport fuels to come from renewable sources, subject to them being produced in a sustainable way.
For further information see the EU press statement with the Member States' legally binding targets for 2020 (external site).
Common EU Energy Policy - more security, less pollution
In January 2007 the European Commission tabled proposals for a common energy policy to improve energy supply security in Europe while combating climate change and
making industry more competitive. The Commission sought to provide solutions to those challenges based on three central pillars:
1. A true Internal Energy Market
2. Accelerating the shift to low carbon energy
3. Energy efficiency
The Energy Services Directive
This Directive was introduced in April 2006 to enhance the cost effective improvement of energy end use efficiency in Member States.
It covers all forms of energy and fuel, including electricity, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, coal, heating oil, biomass and transport fuels (except aviation and bunker fuels).
The Directive applies to providers of energy efficiency measures, energy distributors, distribution system operators and retail energy sales companies; and all energy users except those involved with the EU carbon emissions trading scheme.
The main requirements of the Directive are:
- national indicative energy savings target of 9% by 2017;
- public sector to fulfill an exemplary role in meeting the target;
- Member States required to place obligations on energy suppliers and distributors to promote energy efficiency;
- requirements on metering and billing to allow consumers to make better informed decisions about their energy use.
European Union Emissions trading Scheme (EU ETS)
The EU ETS is one of the policies being implemented across Europe to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and combat the serious threat of climate change.
Phase I of the Scheme began on 1 January 2005 and ran until 31 December 2007. Phase II runs from 2008-2012 to coincide with the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period. For further details
on the Environment Agency's website, click here: EU ETS - Environment Agency.
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The Low Carbon Hierarchy
The most cost-effective approach for reducing your carbon footprint is to:
1. REDUCE energy use by avoiding unnecessary use and implementing energy efficiency measures. You should include the design of your goods and services and also look up and down your supply chain. Once you have increased your efficiency you should then look to
2. REPLACE fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and/or use cleaner fossil fuel technology such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) where it is
feasible to do so. Finally, having reduced your carbon emissions through avoiding waste, energy efficiency and use of renewable cleaner sources, you can
3. NEUTRALISE the remaining unavoidable emissions through carbon offsetting schemes.
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National & Sub-National Energy / CO2 Statistics
The national greenhouse gas emissions statistics are published by DECC at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/climate_change/gg_emissions/uk_emissions/uk_emissions.aspx.
'Energy trends' is a quarterly bulletin containing statistics on energy in the United Kingdom published by DECC from this link: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/publications/trends/trends.aspx.
Sub-National Energy Consumption Statistics can be found on the DECC website at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/energy_stats/regional/regional.aspx.
The South West Regional Observatory's website has a dedicated page on
energy at www.swenvo.org.uk/themes/energy/ that usefully provides data on industrial and domestic energy consumption in the South West as well as other related information. For carbon dioxide emissions data click here: www.swenvo.org.uk/themes/atmosphere/carbon-dioxide/.
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