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4 Nov 2008 : Column 452W—continued

The Government's long-term objective, as prefigured by s.1 of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 is that, as far as reasonably practicable, by 22 November 2016, persons in England should not live in fuel poverty. The interim objective of the fuel poverty strategy in England is that, so far as reasonably practicable, the Government would seek an end to fuel poverty for vulnerable households by 2010. The Government set no annual targets in respect of the 2016 and 2010 targets.

Fuels: Hydrogen

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has to encourage the use of hydrogen fuel cell technologies by (a) the private sector and (b) the public sector. [231424]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government are keen to promote low carbon options for future technological development with respect to energy. This includes hydrogen technologies. The priority at present is to encourage demonstrations of the hydrogen fuel cell technology in realistic working environments so that potential users can gain confidence in the technology and developers can find out what improvements are needed to enable full commercialisation to take place. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology is seen as a potential long-term energy option and offers potentially increased energy security and significant reduced carbon emissions.

The Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Carbon Abatement Technologies Demonstration programme is part of the effort to bring forward the demonstration and deployment of low carbon and energy efficiency technologies

The Environmental Transformation Fund which supports fuel cell demonstration projects has allocated £5 million in support of these programmes.

The Government announced a £100 million investment package on 27 October 2008 at the National Low Carbon Vehicle Event. This is aimed at encouraging the research, development and demonstration of advanced low carbon including electric cars. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is one of a number of potential solutions which can play into this space.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many people aged (a) under and (b) over 60 years were required to pay a top-up to the Warm Front grant in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [230419]

Joan Ruddock: The following table illustrates the number of contributions requested of Warm Front customers aged (a) under and (b) over 60 years of age since contributions were introduced to the scheme.

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Scheme year

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 (to 30 September)

(a) Contributions requested of under 60’s





(b) Contributions requested of over 60’s





All contributions requested





Total households assisted





(1)Households assisted in this scheme year once client contributions were introduced.

Insulation: Housing

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many and what proportion of homes have (a) no loft insulation, (b) between 0 and 199mm of loft insulation, (c) between 200 and 249mm of loft insulation and (d) 250mm or more of loft insulation. [231277]

Joan Ruddock: The following data has been estimated by combining the 2005 English House Condition Survey data with Ofgem’s data for the number of loft insulations carried out under the Energy Efficiency Commitment 2005-08. For Great Britain, the estimated proportions are as follows:

Loft insulation thickness Percentage of stock in 2008



less than 50 mm


50 mm up to 99 mm


100 mm up to 149 mm


150 mm up to 199 mm


200 mm or more




Around 71 per cent. of homes in Great Britain have between 0 mm and 200 mm of insulation. The English House Conditions Survey and its equivalents in Scotland and Wales do not provide data on the number of homes with insulation depths between 200 mm and 250 mm, or on the number with more than 250 mm.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the financial turnover of the domestic insulation market. [231297]

Joan Ruddock: The insulation sector domestic market size is projected to increase by 32 per cent. by 2012 compared with 2007, reaching £1,109 million in 2012 (at 2007 prices).

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what role the (a) Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, (b) Office of Nuclear Development, (c) Sustainable Development Commission and (d) Office of Climate Change will have in achieving his Department's objectives; and if he will make a statement. [229446]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: All these organisations have a part to play in DECC achieving its objectives for energy and climate change. Discussions are continuing and we will provide details as soon as possible.

Nuclear Reactors: Decommissioning

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what responsibility his Department has for the oversight of nuclear decommissioning; and if he will make a statement. [228491]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department of Energy and Climate Change is responsible for nuclear decommissioning policy.

Office of Nuclear Development

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the annual budget of the Office of Nuclear Development is, broken down by expenditure type. [228257]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The annual budget for the OND is £71.6 million. The budget is broken down by expenditure type in the following table.

Expenditure type Annual budget (£ million)

OND Staff and Administration costs


Global Threat Reduction Programme(1)


Redfern Inquiry


Non-proliferation policy :





Nuclear Policy


Nuclear Consultation Policy


(1) Covering DECC, FCO and MOD GTRP activities

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many staff are employed by the Office of Nuclear Development (a) on a full-time equivalent basis and (b) on a headcount basis. [228258]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Office for Nuclear Development employs 65 staff on a full time equivalent basis and has a headcount of 67 staff.


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the statement of 20 October 2008, Official Report, column 34, on the European Council, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of securing a constantly rising supply of oil; what assessment he has made of the implications of such supply and consumption for initiatives to tackle climate change; and if he will make a statement. [229871]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK's oil demand is expected to rise gradually over the next decade, mainly driven by demand for aviation fuel and diesel while petrol consumption is forecast to fall. However, global demand is expected by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to rise more sharply over this period, mainly driven by increasing demand in developing economies.

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The Government do not estimate the timing of peak in global oil production. However, it is our assessment that the global oil reserves are sufficient to prevent total global oil production peaking in the foreseeable future—provided that sufficient investment in both upstream and downstream is forthcoming in order for production to keep pace with the growing global oil demand.

In the long-term, however, unchecked growth of oil demand, both in the UK and internationally, is not environmentally or economically sustainable. The Government are therefore working both domestically and internationally to reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector which will also help to ease demand for oil in the UK and internationally. This includes policies to reduce the carbon content of transport fuel; improve fuel efficiency of vehicles; enable individuals to make more sustainable travel choices; and explore the use of emissions trading for transport. In particular, the renewable transport fuel obligation, EU standards on vehicle emissions and research into electric and hybrid vehicles are likely to encourage the development and deployment of technologies that provide alternatives to petrol and diesel and/or reduce CO2 emissions.

The Government hope that the forthcoming meeting of Energy Ministers it will host in December will provide an opportunity for consumer and producer nations to discuss these issues.

Public Bodies

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the (a) annual cost to public funds and (b) total annual budget is of each of the public bodies (i) for which he has responsibility, (ii) which receive funding from his Department and (iii) which are sponsored by his Department. [228253]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Negotiations are taking place to determine which regulators, inspectorates, Executive agencies and NDPBs should become the responsibility of the Department.

Renewable Energy: Distribution

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of proposals to create a high voltage direct current supergrid covering Europe, the Middle East and North Africa as a means of allowing renewable energy from a variety of sources to be transmitted across the region in a secure and cost-effective fashion; and if he will make a statement. [232374]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The idea of a ‘Plan Solaire’ involving a supergrid that would cover North Africa and the Middle East as well as Europe is interesting. We will wish to explore how such a scheme might promote the EU’s objectives for security of energy supply and meeting renewable energy targets. We are awaiting detailed proposals
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before making an assessment. The cost of building the high voltage direct current grid that would be a necessary part of such a project, as well as the security of any such installation over such large distances, would be key issues in any assessment.

Renewable Energy: South West

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assistance and funding was available to support the development of the renewable energy industry in the South West region at the latest date for which figures are available; [230833]

(2) how much funding was provided to support renewable energy technology development in the South West region in each of the last five years. [230834]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Public sector funding for renewable energy technology innovation in the UK is being delivered through the research councils, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF).

The Department does not hold records of all the expenditure on renewable energy in the South West. However, information is provided as follows on the programmes that DECC is responsible for.

The main funding that has been made available for renewable energy in the South West is through the support provided to Regen SW, which is the sustainable energy agency for South West England.

Support has also been made available for bioheat projects through the South West Bioheat Programme (funded by the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) and the Forestry Commission and delivered by Regen SW). This programme aims to stimulate the bioheat industry through increasing the number of systems on the ground, supporting fuel suppliers, and providing recognised training programmes across the region.

The ‘Wave Hub’ project off the North Cornwall coast received planning approval on 17 September 2007 and has been offered £4.5 million of support from the Government’s Marine Renewables Deployment Fund (MRDF) towards a total cost of £20 million for the project. It will provide a well defined and monitored site with electrical connection to the onshore electricity grid and will greatly simplify and shorten the consents process for wave energy device developers. If it receives the necessary support from industry, it could be commissioned by spring 2010.

Assistance under the Selective Finance for Investment in England (SFIE) programme—now known as the Grant for Business Investment (GBI)—is also available to renewable energy businesses for suitable projects.

The Department does not hold records of all the expenditure on renewable energy in the South West. However, the following table sets out the funding spent on the development of renewable energy in the South West for the years 2002-03 to 2008-09 on the programmes that DECC is responsible for.

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2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Total

South West Bioheat Programme





South West Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme



Wave Hub







Regen SW









Government Office for the South West.

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