Monday, January 23, 2006

Energy Review launched- EST gets first response in!

Malcolm Wicks, DTI Energy Supremo, finally launched the consultation document today that will help decide the UK's energy strategy and supply mix for the foreseeable future.

He said that nuclear is being considered but "we need too to ask whether we are doing enough to create the conditions for other low carbon technologies to come forward and to examine how carbon sequestration could ensure we can continue to have access to the world’s ample coal reserves and other fossil fuels to meet our energy needs."

The answer to the first question is blatantly obvious - not nearly enough. At present it's akin to trying to launch a rocket to the moon with a Brock's fire-cracker.

The consultation document is here. the deadline for replies is April 14. Get yours in! You can bet the Low Carbon Kid certainly will, and sharing his response to reading it in more detail in the next few days.

The Energy Saving Trust got in a prompt response saying that "energy efficiency and microgeneration should form crux of UK's energy policy":

Whilst it has been proven that reducing demand is the most cost effective and environmentally sound option, this message has been overshadowed in public debate and media coverage by a focus on new large-scale generation such as nuclear power and wind farms.

Effective policy interventions to support energy saving and microgeneration (such as small scale solar and wind) are crucial in order to deliver on what we believe should be the key areas of focus for the Energy Review, namely:
  • A pressing need to address escalating energy demands and our dependence on gas;
  • The 2010 target of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20 per cent, which we are currently not on track to meet;
  • A need to eradicate fuel poverty.
Energy efficiency can deliver carbon savings now as well as a low carbon economy in the long term.

Domestic energy use is currently responsible for 27 per cent of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions. The average household wastes two tonnes of CO2 annually by not installing simple energy efficiency measures. The potential exists to save over 50 million tonnes of CO2 every year, and over 200,000 GWh of energy - equivalent to the output of 56 gas-fired power stations.

The potential impact of microgeneration and how it can aid security of supply means it too should become a mainstay of energy policy.

A recent Energy Saving Trust study, for the Department of Trade and Industry, concluded that, by 2050, micogeneration could provide 30-40 per cent of the UK's total electricity needs and help to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 per cent per year.

As fuel prices continue to rise, there is a growing need to tackle the problem of fuel poverty.

Energy efficiency and microgeneration are again the most effective solutions in tackling hard to treat homes that are off the gas grid.

Reducing the growing emissions from road transport, which accounts for another quarter of CO2, is also crucial.

Fiscal incentives such as increased VED for the least fuel efficient vehicles and increased investment in greener fuel and vehicle technologies should form a key component of the UK's transport energy policy.

It is time for people to recognise that no matter how much more capacity we build for power generation, the UK will not achieve security of supply or reach its environmental targets unless we also tackle the problem of our ever increasing demand for energy in the first place.

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