The Department for Energy and Climate Change today published its ‘Low Carbon Transition Plan’ White Paper, which together with the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy and the Renewable Energy Strategy establish a new energy strategy for the UK.
The Combined Heat and Power Association welcome its publication and the bold ambition it represents. But the Association warns that a truly comprehensive strategy – that delivers real clarity for efficient development of the UK energy sector – will only be achieved once energy conservation and low-carbon heat supply are given the same attention as the production of electricity. Heating our homes accounts for a massive 20% of CO2 emissions, whilst the heat consumed in industry emits a further 20%1.
To this end Graham Meeks, Director of the CHPA, explains:
“We welcome these announcements, but they are still only half the picture. No comprehensive energy strategy can be thought complete without fully factoring heat into the equation. And it is noticeable that it is still the junior partner in the strategy documents published today.
“We need to see a fundamental change in perspective in energy policy if we are to meet the challenge of arresting climate change in the most cost-effective way. Integration is key, as is a holistic vision. Compartmentalising energy policy in the way we have seen today is simply no longer an option. Such an approach to energy policy may be convenient, but it isn’t clever.
“As the CBI report published this Monday showed, our ambitious targets for decarbonising the electricity grid will only be met if we dramatically reduce our consumption of electricity. And yet a compartmentalised approach to energy policy risks driving electricity demand in the other direction, with the simplistic assumption that electricity can increasingly be used to heat our homes and power our vehicles”.
“At the same time, continuing to put heat to one side risks committing us to a future where we simply repeat the costly mistakes of the past, such as developing a new generation of ‘clean’ power stations that still waste enormous quantities of valuable energy. This can scarcely be called progress as long as energy security, competitiveness and affordability remain of critical concern.
“Today’s announcement of funds to support the connection of the Pimlico and Whitehall district heating schemes is a small but welcome illustration of the benefits of an integrated approach. It also points to the fact that with CHP and district heating we already have reliable cost effective technology at our disposal to make deep cuts in our carbon emissions. Similar initiatives across the country could have an immediate impact in tackling climate change, delivering vital jobs in engineering and construction and lifting thousands out of fuel poverty.
“The Association also welcomes the Government’s commitment that micro CHP should be an integral element of its Feed-In Tariff regime, following through on the pledges it made in the Energy Act. The UK is set to become a major market for this important microgeneration technology, capitalising on our role in developing leading-edge technology and creating the opportunity for new manufacturing jobs.
“We very much look forward to publication of the government’s delayed Heat and Energy Saving strategy in the autumn and hopefully then being able to welcome a fully integrated government position on energy.”
For further information please contact:
Tel: 020 7802 0182
Combined Heat & Power Association
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