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9 Nov 2009 : Column 147W—continued

Energy: Housing

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what change in average Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) ratings of (a) all and (b) new-build housing stock in England has been achieved in each SAP band A to G in each year since 2005; what assessment he has made of how the actual energy rating of new-build houses corresponds with that predicted by their developers; what representations he has received on the post-build level of energy efficiency in new-build houses; and if he will make a statement. [297459]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The English House Condition Survey reports annually on the energy efficiency of the housing stock as a whole. The proportion of housing in England in each energy efficiency rating band between 2005 and 2007 (the latest estimates available) are set out in the following table.

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Housing stock (England) by energy efficiency rating band, 2005 to 2007
Band A/B Band C Band D Band E Band F Band G






















The rating bands are based on the energy efficiency (SAP) rating with band A indicating the most efficient and band G the least efficient housing. The number of dwellings in band A is too small for the sample survey to provide a robust estimate and therefore bands A and B have been combined.
English House Condition Survey.

The proportion of housing in more energy efficient bands A to D increased from 35 per cent. to 41 per cent. of the whole stock over this period. Over the same period, the proportion in the less efficient bands F and G fell from 24 per cent. to 19 per cent.

In line with procedure for the publication of official statistics, the data for the average SAP rating of new-build housing and are being published on 10 November.

The Department recently completed a joint project with the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes (EEPfH) looking at compliance levels for new homes built to the standards required by the 2006 amendment of Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations. Two reports have been published at the EEPfH website at

The Department has received representations from a range of interests about compliance with the Building Regulations.

Fuel Poverty

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in (a) Mid Bedfordshire constituency, (b) Bedfordshire, (c) the East of England and (d) England are living in fuel poverty. [295410]

Mr. Kidney: The most recently available sub-regional split of fuel poverty relates to 2006, and shows that there were around 2,900 fuel poor households in the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency and around 12,500 fuel poor households in Bedfordshire.

More recent figures are available for England and the regions. These show that in 2007, there were around 253,000 fuel poor households in the east of England and 2.8 million fuel poor households in England.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the merits of underground storage of hydrogen fuel cells. [297461]

Mr. Kidney: We have assumed that the question is intended to refer to the underground storage of hydrogen, not hydrogen fuel cells.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has not made an assessment of the merits of underground storage of hydrogen.

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Underground storage of hydrogen in geologically suitable sites could provide a useful buffering capacity to enable supply to be matched to demand. Such a situation could arise if the UK were to achieve a high market penetration of fuel cell powered vehicles, but this is not expected to occur until 2020 or later. Hydrogen is in widespread use in oil refineries and as an industrial chemical. Hydrogen has been stored successfully in salt caverns in Teesside to meet the demands of the petrochemical industry.

Microgeneration: Government Assistance

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to promote on-site micro-generation projects. [297709]

Joan Ruddock: The Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) is our £131 million grant programme offering funding for small scale onsite energy technologies to householders, public, community and not-for profit-sectors.

Working with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) we are publicising the Phase 1 householder funding stream through a network of local energy advice centres providing information and the Act on CO2 website and helpline to inform and assist consumers.

We will shortly be implementing a promotional campaign for Phase 2 through a series of 'road shows' and presentations in all English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland-raising awareness of the fact that organisations can apply for 50 per cent. of the cost for installing approved technologies up to a maximum of £200,000 per application. We hope to see as many projects as possible coming forward to achieve their ambitions and install small scale onsite technologies.

Planning regulations for domestic small scale renewable energy installations which have little or no impact beyond the host property have been relaxed and we have introduced the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) providing improved consumer confidence in the quality and reliability of microgeneration products and installations.

We have enhanced incentives to install microgeneration technologies with increased support through the Renewables Obligation (which places an obligation on UK suppliers of electricity to source an increasing proportion of their electricity from renewable sources). Going forward, two new financial incentives will have a real impact on pushing small scale onsite energy technologies into the forefront of our energy future. Feed-in tariffs for electricity will act as a major incentive for the development of the market up to 5 MW, and we are working to have feed-in tariffs in place in April 2010.

Our Renewable Heat Incentive or payments for every kilowatt of renewable heat produced will be one of the world's first financial mechanisms to support renewable
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heat technologies. Like the feed-in tariffs, our aim is to make the RHI as accessible, flexible and user-friendly as possible to potential investors in renewable heat at all scales, from the household scale up to the large industrial scale.

Natural Gas: Prices

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make it his policy to (a) estimate the level of profits made by gas companies which do not adjust their charges in line with a reduction in energy prices and (b) assess the effects on consumers of the practices of such companies. [297299]

Mr. Kidney: Energy suppliers often buy gas and electricity many months in advance in order to protect from short-term fluctuations in wholesale costs. This generally results in a time lag between wholesale and retail price movements. In response to a request from the Government, the regulator Ofgem now reports on a quarterly basis on movements in wholesale costs, suppliers' margins and retail prices. This is leading to a greater transparency in the relationship between these factors. Ofgem is also responsible for monitoring and promoting competition in these markets.

Nuclear Power Stations

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with each company which has expressed an interest in building new nuclear power plants on (a) setting a floor price for carbon, (b) updating insurance arrangements for new-build reactors and (c) the financing of radioactive waste management and decommissioning of new nuclear power plants in the last 12 months; and if he will publish the minutes of each meeting with each such company. [297543]

Mr. Kidney: Ministers meet regularly with a range of energy companies and other organisations, and discuss a large number of issues, including issues related to new nuclear power stations. Ministers will continue to do so in the future.

Oil Fired Power Stations

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many tonnes of oil were burned to produce electricity in oil-fired power stations in the UK in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008. [298061]

Mr. Kidney: The following table shows published figures on the oil used in UK power stations for 2005 to 2008:

Million tonnes
Oil used by major power producers Oil used by other generators Total oil used in generation

















Note: This also includes oil used in power stations where co-fired with coal, gas and biomass. Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics, 2009, Table 5.4, available at:

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Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many kilowatt hours of electricity were produced via oil-fired power stations produced in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008. [298062]

Mr. Kidney: The following table shows the amount of oil-fired generation between 2005 and 2008.

Major power producers Other generators Total oil-fired generation

















Note: This also includes oil's share of generation when co-fired with other fuels. Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics, 2009, Table 5.6, available at:

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Renewable Energy

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the relative costs and benefits of (a) photovoltaic tiles and (b) wind turbines. [295872]

Mr. Kidney [holding answer 26 October 2009]: The analysis underpinning Renewable Energy Strategy, published in July 2009, used assumptions on the generating costs of different electricity generating technologies to 2020, full details of which are set out in Element (2009) and Redpoint/Trilemma (2009), which are available on the DECC website. The following table summarises these assumptions with respect to solar photovoltaic and wind generation in 2009.

Technology (source) Capital expenditure (£/kW) Operating expenditure (£/kW/year) Load factor (percentage) Technology life (years)

Solar photovoltaics up to 5000kW in size (Element, 2009)





Wind 15kW to 5000kW in size (Element, 2009)





Onshore wind large-scale (Redpoint/Trilemma, 2009)





Offshore wind (Redpoint/Trilemma, 2009)





Wind generation in the UK generally faces lower capital costs and higher operating costs than solar photovoltaic generation.

Each unit of energy from new wind and photovoltaic installations are assumed to replace an equivalent supply of conventional electricity generation. The conventional electricity would be produced at a lower generation cost, and wind and photovoltaic generation thus impose a resource cost on the UK economy.

However, both wind and photovoltaic generation involve very low level of carbon dioxide emissions over their lifetimes. By replacing conventional electricity generation, wind and photovoltaics reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector, and thus a unit of energy from either creates the same carbon-related benefits through reducing the number of EU Allowances for greenhouse gas emissions the UK electricity sector has to buy within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (or increasing the number to sell). Other costs and benefits of renewables deployment, such as those relating to security of supply and the wider economy, are considered in the impact assessment for the Renewable Energy Strategy.

Both wind and solar photovoltaics are expected to play important roles in achieving the UK's 2020 renewables target.

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