under construction – The Energy White Paper –

The dust is still settling on yesterdays Energy White Paper, with Nuclear plans making the headlines, but the paper contained much more….

There will be plenty of commentaries on the Paper, but, apart from the huge infrastructure projects planned, the following , caught my interest as having the potential for a huge impact on our industry sector:

The Government’s stated target is to reduce UK carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, and is introducing a climate
change Bill to make progress towards making it legally binding.

For businesses, we’re giving the go-ahead to the world’s first mandatory carbon trading scheme aimed at large commercial and public sector organisations, such as banks, supermarkets and central government departments. The new Carbon Reduction Commitment will be a cost-effective scheme that will save over a million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020, while enabling businesses to continue to show real leadership in tackling climate change”. (David Milliband)

A requirement for new meters to come with a real-time display from 2008 and a short term offer of free displays from energy suppliers for households to 2010. In addition, the Government is encouraging the introduction of smart meters, also with displays, in the household sector and for small firms and expects everyone to have a smart meter within 10 years, whilst requiring smart meters for all but the smallest of businesses in the next five years.

Energy providers will be expected to supply the displays free of charge to any householder who wants one fitted to an existing meter. At the moment the units are only available to buy.

Community energy: Some of the biggest carbon savings can be secured by generating energy locally rather than have it supplied from distant large-scale power stations, which lose much of their efficiency in transmission. Energy decentralisation, or micro-generation, has dramatically shrunk the carbon footprint of some local authorities such as Woking in Surrey. The Government is to make licensing arrangements for this simpler and provide more opportunities for local generators to sell their surplus energy back to the National Grid. (Independent)

Reducing standby: Electrical appliances left on standby use about 7 per cent of all the electricity used in UK homes, Mr Darling said yesterday, which is the equivalent of the output of two 600 megawatt gas-fired power stations or more than 1,500 2MW wind turbines.

(This makes the Think 07 action of every home having a master off switch realistic? But is alarming to note we need 1500wind turbines just to satisfy the standby status of equipment!)

A Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy is published backed by funding of £20m for public procurement of low carbon vehicles, an up to £30m R&D ‘Innovation Platform’ and £5m additional funding for the Energy Technologies Institute.

And of course the Planning White Paper, published on Monday 21 May, has separately set out proposals for a new consent regime for nationally significant energy infrastructure. This will help reduce costs, delays and uncertainties incurred by the private sector while also providing an appropriate opportunity for the public to challenge development.

Sources: Guardian, Independent, DTI, GNN

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