BEIS Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker findings (February 2017)

PATBEIS published their Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker on 9 February 2017.

The department runs the survey at regular intervals to “understand and monitor public attitudes to the Department’s main business priorities”, such as energy saving, renewable heat, renewable energy, nuclear power and fracking.

This report presents headline findings from December 2016 (Wave 20) and makes comparisons with earlier periods. It is based on face-to-face interviews of 2,138 people (which is judged to be a representative sample size).

Further useful information (please refer directly to the source material for context, assumptions and explanations):

  • Similar to the previous year’s survey, just under a quarter claimed to give “a lot of thought to saving energy at home “(23%), whilst half claimed to “give it a fair amount of thought” (52%).
  • Support for renewable energy has been consistently high since the survey began in 2012, at around 75-80%. There was a “small drop” in the level of support in Wave 20.
  • 63% of respondents were aware of renewable heating systems “in general”, but the “vast majority (90%) didn’t have any of these systems installed in their home.”
  • “Worries over paying for energy bills remained at their lowest level since the tracker began.”

BEIS’s Help to Heat Consultation Response (January 2017)

HelptoheatBEIS published their response to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) “Help to Heat” consultation on 30 January 2017.

It was confirmed that the “extension period” would now run until September 2018 (i.e. for 18 months, rather than one year), and that a further consultation on the scheme through to 2022 would take place at a “later date”.

The ECO will be set at a level worth an estimated £640 million per annum, rising with inflation, and will be re-focused towards low income households. It will encourage installations which make the most impact on reducing fuel poverty, including more insulation.

Further useful information (please refer directly to the source material for context, assumptions and explanations):

  • The ECO scheme was launched in January 2013. As of November 2016, it has delivered energy efficiency measures to 1.6 million households in Great Britain
  • The Affordable Warmth obligation – focused on low income households – will be increased as a proportion of the overall scheme from around 36% to 70% of estimated supplier spend
  • The eligible Affordable Warmth Group will be increased to around 4.7 million rather than 4 million households
  • The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) will decrease as a proportion of the overall estimated spend, from approximately 34% to 30%
  • The Carbon Saving Community Obligation will be brought to an end
  • Eligibility for certain measures under the Affordable Warmth obligation will be extended to social housing in EPC Bands E, F or G
  • The requirement to deliver a minimum level of solid wall insulation will be increased from the proposed equivalent of 17,000 measures per year to 21,000 per year
  • A rural sub-obligation of 15% under CERO will be introduced to maintain delivery in rural areas
  • Deemed scores will replace the use of the Standard Assessment Procedure methodology

BEIS’s Future of Heat consultation (December 2016)

beisThe Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a consultation on The Future of Heat in domestic buildings in England on 8 December 2016. The consultation period closes on 27 January 2017.

BEIS is consulting on ways to “drive the performance of heating systems up and [fuel] bills down…” For example, they propose increasing minimum boiler efficiency requirements, and making the installation of time and temperature controls mandatory with each domestic boiler installation.

The department also stresses that they are “committed to reducing the amount of energy and carbon used in buildings” and that policies “to cut carbon from heating must be complementary with policies that encourage energy efficiency in the home. The ultimate aim should be for Government to set a clear framework that enables markets to deliver these goals.”

Useful information and statistics in the document (please refer directly to the source material for further context, assumptions and explanations):

  • “Consumers now tend to heat more rooms in their homes and to higher temperatures than at any time in history.” (Source given – Mavrogianni et al, Historic Variations in Winter Indoor Domestic Temperatures, 2011)
  • “Commercial sales data indicates there are 1.5m replacement boilers installed each year in the UK, 96% are gas boilers and 86% of gas connections are in England…this gives approximately 1.2m boiler replacements per year.” (Source given – Subnational statistics 2014)
  • “Energy consumption by the domestic sector accounted for 29% of final energy consumption in the UK in 2015.” (Source given – ECUK 2016)
  • “Gas usage accounted for 77% of energy consumption for space heating in the domestic sector (excluding lighting and appliances) in 2013.” (Source given – Table 1.04, ECUK 2016)
  • “It is thought that [mandating the use of highly efficient boilers in 2005] reduced average household bills by around £95 a year, and in 2009 condensing boilers are estimated to have saved £800 million in fuel costs across the UK.” (No source given)
  • “Currently [in 2016] the efficiency of a domestic gas boiler should be at least 88%, calculated using a standard model known as ‘SEDBUK 2009’. For oil boilers the minimum varies: 88% in the case of system boilers and 86% for combination boilers.”
  • “…Nearly all consumers receive advice from their installers when heating controls are installed, most commonly in the form of a manual (73%) or a practical demonstration (44%).” (Source given – BEIS Impact Assessment: Domestic Heating Replacement Regulations 2016)
  • Guidance on how to comply with boiler requirements is provided in Approved Document L1B and the Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide.

ICE’s recommendations on building energy efficiency and infrastructure priorities (October 2016)

iceThe Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) published a National Needs Assessment (NNA) on 19 October 2016.

The NNA “brought together a coalition including industry, investors, environmental, legal and professional bodies, and politicians and opinion formers to deliver a 35 year view of the changing demands on infrastructure services.” The NNA finds that the energy, transport and digital sectors will “have the greatest impact on people’s lives in 2050 and steps need to be taken now to address challenges.”

On energy efficiency the report recommends that “Government and Ofgem should take a more proactive role in enabling a smarter energy system as a way to reduce the need for major new power projects and thereby reduce costs for consumers. The Government should establish a clear policy for reduction of energy demand in households and businesses and introduce consistent schemes to enable these reductions.”

Read the full report at National Needs Assessment – A Vision for UK Infrastructure

Where can I find details of the plan for Scotland’s energy efficiency programe for 2016 onwards (September 2016)

scotlandThe Scottish Government published ”A Plan for Scotland – The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2016-17″ on 6 September 2016.

Amongst other policies, the plan confirms the intention to bring forward a major Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) supported by capital funding. The Scottish Government says the “SEEP delivers our commitment to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, boosting energy efficiency investment in Scotland and decarbonising heat provision over the long term.”

The Government will make available “more than £0.5 billion over the next four years for energy efficiency and combating fuel poverty” which will support “around 4,000 jobs a year once the programme is fully operational”.

Next steps include a series of pilots with local authorities, the creation of an Energy Strategy, and the introduction of regulation to underpin elements of the programme.

See the full plan at A Plan for Scotland – The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2016-17