Examination of Witnesses (Questions 589-599)|
TUESDAY 4 DECEMBER 2001
589. Good morning, Dr Lees. Perhaps you would
introduce your colleague and yourself?
(Dr Lees) Good morning. My name is Eoin Lees. I am
Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust. My colleague is Nick
Eyre who is the Director of Policy and Development at the Energy
Saving Trust. Between us we probably have about 34 years' experiencecertainly
a lot more than we care to rememberof energy efficiency,
combined heat and power and renewables, but today we are particularly
focussing on energy efficiency and sustainable energy in households,
and we are grateful for this opportunity.
590. Thank you. You see the development of small-scale,
community-based renewable energy schemes as a means of ensuring
diversity and security. In macro terms, what proportion of our
energy needs do you think could be provided by such sources?
(Dr Lees) In the short term, to 2010?
591. Yes, let us say 2010 and maybe beyond that,
because the PIU is talking about over 50 years.
(Dr Lees) I suspect the answer to that is smallbut
Nick will be able to answer thatin the short term.
(Dr Eyre) Certainly if you look at the very long term,
if technologies like micro-CPH and fuel cells are developed, they
have a capability to deliver the whole of the domestic sector's
electricity supply. Small-scale renewablesto some extent
it depends what you mean by "small-scale". I think we
would see small-scale renewables in the first instance as playing
a role in helping to promote public understanding and involvement
in the renewables sector and therefore perhaps help more in the
planning issues, but I would have thought that wind and biomass
at relatively small scales will probably be generating 10 per
cent of the UK energy supply by 2020.
592. Given that 20 per cent of our energy is
consumed by the domestic sector, you would see the domestic sector,
that 20 per cent, perhaps
(Dr Lees) It is actually over 30 per cent.
593. 30 per cent, I am sorry. You see that as
contributing quite a reduction?
(Dr Lees) In the longer term certainly.
594. But by 2010 you think it will be fairly
(Dr Eyre) By 2010 it will be fairly modest. By 2020
we think that micro-CHP will generate about 20 per cent of domestic
energy, so it is a significant contribution.
595. So that is about 6 per cent of total needs?
(Dr Lees) Yes, this is why, because of the local market
time factor, we are so keen to exploit all the alternatives on
energy efficiency that are available to us today.
596. Is it not fair to say that the problem
with commercial renewable schemes is that they are located so
far away from the customer base, and that there are real problems
for the distribution network?
(Dr Eyre) I think you have to differentiate between
the technologies like wave energy and offshore wind which clearly,
if they are going to be used in substantial amounts, would require
substantial extension of the transmission and distribution networks.
You have to differentiate between those and technologies like
onshore wind, biomass and photovoltaics which in general are going
to be somewhat closer to the customer than large-scale power generation
has been historically. More importantly, there will be embedded
generation connected within the distribution network that will
therefore tend to reduce the losses in the power system compared
to the traditional centralised generation going through high-voltage
transmission down to the customer.
597. In fairness, some of the wind farms are
quite remote as well. I think that has been part of the difficulty
in trying to get those into the distribution network as well,
in terms of its relationship to the customer base. I do not think
it is just a case of saying, "Well if it's offshore, yes,
it's a problem: if it's inshore, no, it's not a problem."
I think you have to agree that some of the problems have been
that wind farms have been located so far away from the customer
(Dr Eyre) I would not agree with that in the short
to medium term, no. I think there is perhaps one example where
wind energy is being generated in excess of what is needed.
(Dr Lees) I think the problem has been much more one
of visual intrusiveness of wind farms, which is where I think
the community-based approach, which is what they have done in
Denmark, has so much more potential for it.
598. In your submission regarding NETA you have
said that the operation of NETA "adversely affected the renewable
energy and CHP suppliers, particularly for new generators."
The DTI published its response to Ofgem's assessment of the impact
of NETA on small generators in the first two months, and it was
operational from 1 November. Were you encouraged by anything you
saw in the Government's response that would help those sectors?
(Dr Eyre) I think the first thing I should say is
that none of us is an expert on NETA; it is one of those areas
in which not many people are experts.
599. We have discovered that!
(Dr Eyre) I think some of the options canvassed in
the DTI document, notably consolidation, single cash-out price
and the option of a dead band treating small generators differently
from large generators, for perfectly justifiable reasons, are
encouraging and would help considerably.