Friday, 9 July 2010

New Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets what the government should do!

There is some good news in the Con Dems new approach to Carbon Emission Reduction Targets for energy utilities. There will be a much greater emphasis on insulation schemes with 68% of the funding going on such schemes and they reckon that around 3.5 million homes will be insulated by December 2012. There is also to be less emphasis on gizmos and gadgets, I guess they mean Energy Display Monitors - which might be a mistake if applied too rigorously. There is however still no statement from the government as to whether or not the previous governments target of insulating all homes by 2015 remains a target. So there are still significant questions over the governments ambition but if schemes like the Kirklees Warm Zone are to take effect what should we be looking for in the new CERT regulations? Here's my top 5 'asks'

Area Based Approaches – Area based approaches will be positively encouraged under new CERT arrangements particularly for insulation based schemes. A minimum of 75% of CERT funding, allocated to insulation measures, should be dedicated to area based insulation programmes. Area Based approaches are by their nature more cost effective as more installations can be carried out in a day by crews working in the same street and better prices can be achieved through the tender process. In this way economies of scale can be more easily realised and reduce the cost of carbon saved.

Local Authority linkages - All area based programmes shall be delivered in partnership with local authorities who will be encouraged to link them with with a income maximization advice/benefits advice package to reduce the likelihood of households being in fuel poverty.

‘Free’ Area Based Approaches – It is recognised that take up of insulation measures is much greater in area based schemes where there is no upfront cost or where the offer is free of charge. In Kirklees it has been shown that 3 times more measures are achieved than ‘Able to Pay’ Warm Zones. Priority should be given by utilities to Area Based Approaches where additional funding is offered by partner organisations (such as local authorities) which enable the scheme to be delivered free of charge to all householders. CERT regulations will be adjusted to encourage these initiatives. An alternative to the universally free insulation offers would be a Pay As You Save type arrangement repaid through energy bills but only if this will be feasible for this round of CERT.

Real Time Displays – It is recognised that Real Time Displays have a real role to play in helping householders reduce electricity consumption and raising awareness of energy use. There is however a danger that they could be the new giveaway taking over from CFLs. We propose that RTDs are only given away to householders as part of area based approaches and are installed in the home and demonstrated to the householder by Energy Advisors trained to at least City and Guilds Energy Awareness level.

Energy Advice – This will be credited by CERT but only where it is delivered in the home as part of an Area Based Scheme by trained staff to at least City and Guilds standard.

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