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Coalition plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 May 2010 at 4:20 pm

So now we know what the department of Energy and Climate Change's priorities are. It believes that "climate change is one of the gravest threats we face, and that urgent action at home and abroad is required. We need to use a wide range of levers to cut carbon emissions, decarbonise the economy and support the creation of new green jobs and technologies. We will implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy."

Here is a list of the measures that have the greatest impact on domestic energy use (you can download the whole document here):

•    We will seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.

•    We will establish a smart grid and roll out smart meters.

•    We will establish a full system of feed-in tariffs in electricity – as well as the maintenance of banded Renewables Obligation Certificates.

•    We will create a green investment bank.

•    We will retain energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs.

•    Through our "Green Deal", we will encourage home energy efficiency improvements paid for by savings from energy bills. We will also take measures to improve energy efficiency in businesses and public sector buildings. We will reduce central government carbon emissions by 10 per cent within 12 months.

•    We will encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit from the power produced. We will also allow communities that host renewable energy projects to keep the additional business rates they generate.

•    As part of the creation of a green investment bank, we will create green financial products to provide individuals with opportunities to invest in the infrastructure needed to support the new green economy.

While our overall impression is that this is a positive start, we have some specific questions for Chris Huhne, the new secretary of state at DECC:

•    Do you plan to stick to the previous government's plans to introduce the renewable heat incentive on 1 April 2010? If so, what will you do to ensure that people are encouraged to get the  measure that most effectively reduces carbon emissions, rather than the one that gives the biggest financial return on investment?

•    How will you educate, encourage and generally support people to make the huge shift to renewable heat, which is well out of many people's comfort zones?

•    Will you include existing microgenerators of heat and electricity in the feed-in tariffs and RHI, as promised by the Conservatives before the election?

•    Will the pay as you save scheme be at the £10,000 level in the LibDem manifesto, or at the much less appealing £6,500 level the Tories proposed?

•    Will you increase the export rate for the feed-in tariff, as proposed in the LibDem manifesto?

What would you like to know about Chris Huhne's plans? Do let us know.

Photo: DECCgovuk

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