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Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK
21 December 2009

DECC information bulletin

Low Carbon Communities Challenge

Communities in Norfolk, Isle of Wight, London, Nottinghamshire, Pembrokeshire, Cheshire, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Oxfordshire and Devon are the first of twenty communities to benefit from a £10million fund as part of the Low Carbon Communities Challenge.

Around a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, lighting and powering electrical appliances in homes. By 2050 this needs to be almost zero if the UK is to cut its emissions by 80% highlighting the importance of local action.

The winning projects will spend the cash on things like solar panels and wind turbines, insulating homes, low carbon heating systems and electric car charging points. Installing energy generating kit will not only cut carbon and save money on energy bills, but will also create an income for the communities through the Government’s clean energy cashback scheme. DECC is now looking for an additional ten communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to take part in the next phase of the Challenge.

CERT extension

It was announced in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan that the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) would be extended by 21 months until December 2012. CERT obligates the larger energy companies to meet household carbon emission saving targets.

Suppliers meet these targets by promoting, typically with subsidy, a range of energy efficiency and low carbon measures including cavity wall and loft insulation. This helps households to reduce carbon and save energy, helping in the fight against climate change and in helping consumers heat their homes for less. The consultation Extending the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target raises key proposals for a new higher target of 293 million tonnes of lifetime CO2 savings by December 2012; for an insulation minimum so as to drive insulation delivery; and, for a Super Priority Group obligation to ensure that the most vulnerable householders who are least able to afford energy saving measures are offered assistance.

Between 2002 and September 2009, under the supplier obligation 7 million homes have been insulated in Great Britain. In reality this means some two-thirds of cavity walls are now filled and 35% of lofts have basic insulation. By extending CERT, it is estimated an extra 4 million homes could be insulated. This should help meet the 2011 target to lag 6 million homes in Great Britain over three years and be on course to the longer term target of insulating all lofts and cavities where practicable by 2015.

Climate Change Agreements

We are publishing the Second consultation on the form and content of new Climate Change Agreements. Introduced in 2001, Climate Change Agreements allow eligible energy intensive industries to benefit from a reduction in the Climate Change Levy if energy efficiency targets are met. The aims of the Agreements are to incentivise energy efficiency and emissions reductions in energy intensive industries. The second consultation builds on the findings from the first. It seeks views on a specific proposal for the form and content of the new Climate Change Agreements, due to be introduced in April 2011.

Geothermal grants

DECC has awarded the first grants from the Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund, launched earlier this year. The winning projects are:

  • £2.011 million to EGS Energy Limited, to purchase capital items associated with their exploratory borehole at the Eden Centre, Cornwall;
  • £1.475 million to Geothermal Engineering Ltd, to purchase capital items associated with their exploratory borehole at Redruth, Cornwall; and
  • £461,000 to Newcastle University (supported by engineers Parsons-Brinckerhoff) for recasing an existing 1km deep borehole and boring a new 410m borehole with the intention of providing heat to the proposed Eastgate eco-village, County Durham.

Notes to editors:

  1. More information on the Low Carbon Communities Challenge can be found at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/consumers/lc_communities/lc_communities.aspx
  2. The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (April 2008 – March 2011) is a GB wide scheme and was called the Energy Efficiency Commitment between April 2002 and March 2008. Qualifying energy companies are electricity and gas suppliers with more than 50,000 domestic customers. Detailed information on CERT can be found at: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/Environment/EnergyEff/Pages/EnergyEff.aspx[external Link]
  3. The insulation projection under CERT is derived as follows: if the proposed 65% insulation minimum were delivered to average three-bed semi detached housing 60% through cavity wall insulation; 30% professional loft insulation (split evenly from <60mm and >60mm) 5% DIY insulation and 5% external solid wall insulation then that would mean around 4.9 million insulation measures in total. Assuming that a third of the houses that had cavities installed also get loft insulation, around 4 million households would benefit under the CERT extension period.
  4. The 6 million homes insulated target is an April 2008 – December 2011 timeframe. Contributing policies include CERT, Decent Homes, Warm Front and the Community Energy Saving Programme.
  5. The awards from the Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund’ will be subject to compliance with State Aids regulations.