Written Evidence from Energy Saving Trust
1. This is the Energy Saving Trust's submission
to the Welsh Affairs Committee Inquiry into Energy in Wales announced
in October 2005. This submission should not be taken as representing
the views of individual Energy Saving Trust members.
2. The Energy Saving Trust was established
as part of the Government's action plan in response to the 1992
Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which addressed worldwide concerns
on sustainable development issues. We are the UK's leading organisation
working through partnerships towards the sustainable and efficient
use of energy by households, small communities and the road transport
sector, and one of the key delivery agents for the UK Government's
climate change objectives. We operate a number of programmes in
Wales including Energy Efficiency Advice Centres, transport programmes,
support for domestic energy efficiency activities to all 22 local
authorities in Wales and a pilot renewable energy advice (REAS)
through the West Wales Eco Centre. Our response, which considers
each of the Inquiry's terms of reference (ToR) in turn, focuses
on our key activities and areas of expertise.
ToR 1. UK Government policy in relation to
(a) the current and future energy needs of
(b) the current and future provision of energy
3. The Energy Saving Trust strongly believes
that, in the short term, the priority focus in meeting Wales'
energy needs in a secure, efficient and environmentally friendly
manner must be to reduce the level of demand in the first place.
Demand side activity can be implemented far quicker than changes
in the supply side and will deliver carbon reductions with lower
levels of low carbon supply. Energy efficiency clearly helps improve
security of supply by reducing the demand for primary energy and
hence the level of dependency on energy imports. The installation
of energy efficiency measures can result in substantial financial
savings to consumers who could save as much as £250 on their
annual fuel bills simply by installing energy efficiency measures.
This also means that energy efficiency plays a key role in tackling
fuel poverty. Energy efficiency also clearly provides the most
favourable low carbon solution when taking into account embodied
4. To give an idea of scale at a UK levelinvestment
in improvements in UK households has doubled energy efficiency
since 1970. These changes have reduced carbon emissions by 28
MtC per annum whilst saving consumers £10 billion every year.
This is three times the saving from the whole nuclear industry
and almost as much as the emissions of the UK's fleet of coal
fired power stations.
5. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that
the achievable annual potential for household carbon savings in
the UK is 16 MtC through existing technologies and excluding solid
wall insulation. This equates to 36%
of household energy use. One of the emerging conclusions of the
joint Defra/HM Treasury Energy Efficiency Innovation Review is
that "significant [energy efficiency] cost-effective savings
remain in every sector, even when other hidden costs are taken
6. It is imperative that Wales not only
continues its focus on energy efficiency as the key delivery agent
for its short term carbon reductions but also raises its commitment
by strengthening existing measures and introducing new policies
for both now and the longer term. We would be pleased to provide
details of the potential energy efficiency opportunities available
in the household sector.
7. While the short term focus should be
reducing demand in the first place, the longer term focus of energy
policy must be a shift towards a low carbon economy. At a household
level microgeneration will have an important part to play in delivering
such a shift. This is considered in more detail in our response
to question 3.
8. In addition to the household energy sector,
rising transport emissions must be tackled as a priority in Wales.
Urgent action is clearly required to negate the increasing road
transport emissions that are forecast by UK Government. In our
view efforts to curtail Welsh transport emissions would be helped
by setting a clear target for emission reductions in the transport
sector. Monitoring of progress against the target would allow
the effectiveness of policy to be measured and remedial action
taken if necessary.
9. However, there is considerable further
scope to tackle transport emissions, key to which is the provision
of information and advice to users. We would therefore welcome
long term commitment to the Travel Plan Coordinator scheme and
the Walking and Cycling Strategy. Local authorities in particular
have very important roles in transport planning and public transport
support in their local communities. We believe that greater priority
needs to be given, both in local transport investment plans and
transport planning, to low carbon modes of transport, in particular
to public transport, cycling and walking in Wales. We offer free
transport consultancy advice to Workplaces in England and Scotland
as detailed on our website http://www.transportenergy.org.uk/developtravelplan/,
and believe we can help reduce Welsh transport emissions by expanding
this service in Wales. We would be pleased to provide further
details of the potential transport opportunities that the Welsh
Assembly Government could adopt.
ToR 2. The relationship between the UK Government
and the National Assembly for Walesincluding the division
of powerson energy policy
10. Energy policy in Wales is the responsibility
of the UK Government, as are a number of other policy areas that
are of direct relevance to the use and provision of energy, including:
The promotion of renewable energy.
11. However, other policies of relevance
to the use and provision of energy are the direct responsibility
of the Welsh Assembly Government including:
The promotion of energy efficiency/CHP.
12. This provides substantial opportunity
for the Welsh Assembly Government to provide tailor-made Wales-specific
solutions, which have to date included, for example, the inclusion
of domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency targets for Welsh
local authorities under their policy agreement with the Welsh
Assembly Government. It is worthwhile noting that where such polices
are particularly innovative and successful they can provide a
lead for the rest of the UK to follow. For the non-devolved policy
areas the Welsh Assembly Government has a key role in influencing
policy outcomes at UK Government level. However, it is inevitable
the result is policies that are less Wales-specific.
ToR 3 The current and future portfolio of energy
provision in Wales
13. Of particular relevance to this part
of the Inquiry is the Energy Saving Trust's work on microgeneration
and biofuels for transport.
14. We believe that microgeneration offers
considerable potential and must be allowed to play a major role
in Welsh energy policy objectives. An appropriate policy framework
should be developed accordingly.
15. Microgeneration offers a number of benefits
over larger scale technologies including reduced transmission
and distribution network losses, enhanced security of supply through
fuel diversity and reduced dependence on a small number of generators.
Renewable microgeneration technologies can also help mitigate
fuel poverty in hard to treat homes, such as solid wall properties,
and in off-gas network areas. Microgeneration, in common with
energy efficiency, will also address heat as well as power unlike
nuclear and most large scale renewable technologies.
16. Combined heat and power in general is
clearly more efficient than the production of heat and power from
separate sources, which is particularly relevant in relation to
gas supply. We note that DTI
now considers microgeneration as "the production of heat
and/or electricity on a small-scale
from a low carbon
17. Indications are that the development
of microgeneration technologies will also help improve the level
of engagement with consumers on climate change issues in general.
In the case of renewables, microgeneration this could help increase
acceptance of larger renewable generation projects. The implementation
of microgeneration solutions will also help facilitate a holistic
approach to carbon reduction in the household sector by allowing
the implementation of energy efficiency measures at the same time.
This is clearly not possible with large scale generation solution
which will not help improve engagement with consumers.
18. It is for these reasons that we advocate
microgeneration must be allowed to play a major role in Welsh
energy and climate change policy objectives and an appropriate
policy framework should be developed accordingly.
19. The Inquiry may also be interested in
the recent Energy Saving Trust discussion document "Delivering
the Government's 2020 vision for local energy generation".
This outlines our views on the major cost, information and technical
constraints preventing the early deployment of a market for microgeneration
(renewable and non-renewable) and the mass market transformation
actions required if the UK is to meet its climate change targets.
We would be pleased to provide further details of the policy framework
that we believe is required to stimulate the development and mainstreaming
of microgeneration solutions.
DTI STUDY AND
20. The Energy Saving Trust in partnership
with Element Energy Ltd, Econnect Ltd and the Faculty of Economics
(University of Cambridge) has recently undertaken a study and
analysis of the potential for microgeneration in the UK for the
DTI. We believe that the final report, which DTI is planning to
release shortly will be of particular interest to the Inquiry.
The report will provide the most informative and relevant information
in relation to the relative costs and operating efficiencies of
microgeneration technologies. We suggest that in this instance
this report will be more helpful than the evidence that we could
currently submit. The Committee may therefore like to request
a copy of the report from DTI.
21. The analysis contained in the report
is at UK level. However, the data to undertake a Wales-specific
analysis does exist and providing funding was forthcoming, the
analysis could readily be developed to be Wales-specific.
22. DfT recently announced new measures
to make transport fuels greener by requiring 5% of all UK fuel
sold on UK forecourts to come from a renewable source by 2010.
Prior to this a study for DfT and DTI attempted to establish the
UK biofuels resource potential. The analysis did not consider
Wales separately. However, we believe that it would be helpful
if detailed Wales-specific analysis was undertaken. The report
is available at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sepn/bio4.pdf
29 November 2005
7 Based on domestic energy consumption reported in
the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2005. Back
Background paper for the Sustainable Energy Policy Advisory Board-7
June 2005. http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sepn/eeir-background.pdf Back
Micro-generation strategy consultation June 2005. Back
Small-scale in this instance refers to homes and small commercial
developments/public sector buildings. Back
Low carbon refers to either renewable energy generators or technologies
with better fuel efficiency than conventional technologies. Back