help for carbon reduction from

Government (both local and national)

This page notes some of the many forms of help available from local and national government. This is a surprisingly fast-moving field, so be sure to check for t he latest details before you take any action or decisions.

The Affordable Warmth Helpline

With average energy bills totalling over £1,000, the cost of keeping your home warm can be too much. Currently 5 million people in the UK cannot afford to pay for the heat they need. Anyone who is struggling with their fuel bills can call a free helpline for free, impartial advice on:
- improving the energy efficiency levels of your property through cavity wall and loft insulation including the grants available
- switching energy suppliers to find the best deal
- social tariffs provided by the energy companies for vulnerable customers
- advice on fuel debt
- home Improvement Agencies who undertake minor repairs for vulnerable home owners
- sign-posting to other active support organisations
Call 0800 1070044. The line is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST)
For General energy saving advice, the EST offers a range of energy-saving tips, information on grants and information on buying energy saving products. Their quick Home energy check could save you hundreds of £s a year through energy efficiency. This instant report suggests ways to lower your fuel bills. There is also advice on saving money through green travel and generating your own energy.
Alternatively you can call 0800 512012 to speak to an energy advisor for free impartial advice.

£99 Insulation Deal for West Oxon

Keep your home warm and cut your energy costs by getting cavity wall and loft insulation fitted for the discounted price of just £99* each - normally £150 to £500.
Working with Cocoon, WODC is offering this reduced price to residents who own their own home or rent privately. If you are 70 or over, or receive certain benefits, you may get the work done for free.
By taking advantage of this offer, you could make your money back in energy saving in only 12 months and continue to save money on heating costs year after year.
To get started, visit Cocoon or call them on 0800 8048777 and ask for the 'West Oxon Deal'. Lines are open 8am - 9pm Monday to Friday. An installer will be asked to contact you to arrange a free, no-obligation survey of your home. Please be aware that the phone lines are very busy so please leave a message or use the online service.
* You may have to pay more if your property is larger than average for the number of bedrooms or if access is difficult or extra vents are required.

Energy monitors to loan

Find out where you are spending money on your bills by borrowing one of our energy monitors - see which household appliances are using more energy and therefore more cash! Drop into our Town Centre Shop on Welch Way, Witney to borrow a monitor for up to two weeks - for a £10 refundable deposit.

Save money on your oil with Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC)

If you can’t get gas in your area and have to use oil, make use of ORCC’s oil bulk-buying scheme. This works by bringing together communities to bulk buy oil, therefore making financial savings. To find out more and take part, check their website.

Renewable energy guides

WODC has produced guides on small-scale wind turbines and solar thermal hot water collectors. For more information contact planning services or call 01993 861420.

Current and pending financial incentives

Feed-in tariffs

Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) became available in Great Britain on 1st April 2010. The scheme guarantees a minimum payment for all electricity generated by the system, as well as a separate payment for the electricity exported to grid. These payments are in addition to the bill savings made by using the electricity generated on-site.
The scheme covers the following electricity-generating technologies, up to an installation size of 5 Mega Watts:
&Mac183; Solar electricity (PV) (roof mounted or stand alone)
&Mac183; Wind turbine (building mounted or free standing)
&Mac183; Hydroelectricity
&Mac183; Anaerobic digestion
&Mac183; Micro combined heat and power (micro CHP) (limited to a pilot at this stage)

A comprehensive review of the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) scheme was launched in February 2011 following growing evidence that large-scale solar farms could soak up money intended to help homes, communities and small businesses generate their own electricity.

The comprehensive FITs review will:
&Mac183; Assess all aspects of the scheme including tariff levels, administration and eligibility of technologies;
&Mac183; Be completed by the end of the year, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency);
&Mac183; Fast-track consideration of large scale solar projects (over 50kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to tariffs as soon as practical

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive is designed to provide financial support that encourages individuals, communities and businesses to switch from using fossil fuel for heating, to renewables such as wood fuel. It will be introduced from 2011/12 and is expected to be launched in June 2011. Further details, along with tariff levels, will be confirmed shortly. Eligible technologies are:
&Mac183; Air, water and ground-source heat pumps
&Mac183; Solar thermal
&Mac183; Biomass boilers
&Mac183; Renewable combined heat and power
&Mac183; Use of biogas and bioliquids
&Mac183; Injection of biomethane into the natural gas grid.

ENERGY BILL 2011 : Policy included in the Bill
The Bill has three principal objectives:
- tackling barriers to investment in energy efficiency
- enhancing energy security
- and enabling investment in low carbon energy supplies.

It includes provisions for the Green Deal, a new Energy Company Obligation and Smart metering (more detail later in this update) Other changes include:

Private Rented Sector:
Establish powers for the Secretary of State, which would, in the event of continued poor energy efficiency performance in the Private Rented Sector, prevent private residential landlords from refusing a tenants’ reasonable request for energy efficiency improvements to be undertaken in their properties, where a finance package is available. It would also require private landlords in the domestic and non-domestic sector to improve some of the least energy efficient properties where finance is available. The earliest date regulations could be made is April 2015.

Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA)
A clause is required in the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill effecting the repeal of HECA and work related to it in England, Scotland and Wales.

Measures to enable low carbon technologies:
Extend existing Secretary of State powers in the Energy Act and existing Ofgem powers in the Electricity Act 1989 to enable the implementation of an enduring offshore electricity transmission regime beyond 2010.
Amend existing powers in the Energy Act 2008 that enable the Secretary of State to modify a nuclear operator’s Funded Decommissioning Programme; to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the Secretary of State’s powers to protect the taxpayer and the operator’s need for clarity over how those powers will be exercised.

The Green Deal

The government is establishing a framework to enable private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, and payments will be through instalments of their standard energy bill. The ‘pay back’ costs stay with the home and is only paid while benefits are enjoyed. People will be able to change their energy provider.

Prerequisites for Green Deal include:
- the Golden Rule - Expected financial savings must equal or exceed costs attached to energy bill
- the measures must be approved
- the measures installed must have been recommended for that property by an accredited, objective adviser who has carried out an assessment
- the measures must be installed by an accredited installer

There isn’t a one size fits all. Other targeted people will be:
- lower income and vulnerable households will be given extra support by a new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) in the Energy Bill.
- the aim is to make it available for businesses too – this will be more complex due to the differences in the Green Deal for this sector
- homes needing major expensive measures will need additional support to bring down costs enough to meet the ‘golden rule’
- landlords and tenants- future regulation in the Energy Bill is planned.

It will operate under Codes of Practice which will guarantee appropriate qualification and training for advisers and installers, rules regulating to marketing, process for handling customer queries and complaints, and requirements for insurance backed warranties to cover work carried out.

Time-frame for development of Green Deal Legislation
Dec 2010 Energy Bill introduced to Parliament
Pre-Autumn 2011 Officials engage stakeholders as develop technical details for secondary legislation
Autumn 2011 Formal consultation on secondary legislation
Early 2012 Secondary legislation laid before Parliament
Spring 2012 Detailed industry guidance prepared
Autumn 2012 First Green Deals appear

SMART metering

There is a government commitment to the rollout of electricity and gas smart meters to all homes in Great Britain and to the broad framework for delivering that rollout including:
- energy suppliers will be responsible for procuring and installing smart meters
- communication of data to and from smart meters at domestic sites will be managed centrally by a new, GB-wide function
- all smart meters must comply with a set of high-level functional requirements and provide real time energy consumption information

The intention is that the minimum functional requirements for the meters should include:
- current and historical electricity and gas consumption (KW and KWh)
- usage information displayed in pounds and pence
- presentation of accurate account balance information (amount in credit or debit on energy bill).

They also want to roll this out to businesses and the public sector. Local authorities and other ‘trusted third parties’ are described as key to promotion of the Smart metering programme.

Current planning indicates that the full regime, including central data and communications services, will be established by Autumn 2013.

Warm Front

The Government is proposing to revise the scope of the Warm Front scheme to further target those in fuel poverty or most vulnerable to it. Assistance will be directed at households of older people, long term sick, disabled or those with young children who are on a low income and have a high propensity to fuel poverty by:
- amending the focus of Warm Front measures to encompass a set of certain income related eligibility criteria that are considered to better target households susceptible to fuel poverty; and
- introducing a thermal efficiency test, for example, households can access Warm Front assistance if they have a SAP rating of 55 or below and one of the listed income related criteria.

Consultation on Micro-generation
The Government has published a consultation document on a Microgeneration Strategy. This consultation document explores a range of non-financial barriers that have the potential to prevent the microgeneration sector from realising its full potential. Microgeneration technologies include solar Photo-voltaic panels, solar thermal panels, heat pumps, wind turbines, hydro, combined heat and power (CHP) and biomass/biogas etc. The consultation seeks views on four key areas that can help decarbonise the way we heat our homes and businesses reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions and contributing to their target of sourcing 20% of all EU energy from renewables by 2020:

- quality: how to ensure consumers have confidence that equipment and installation is reliable and adheres to the highest standards – this suggests building on the existing Microgeneration Certification Scheme
- skills: to develop the microgeneration supply chain to ensure it is properly equipped with the right people to meet the expected rise in demand, as well as creating and sustaining jobs in the UK. This includes consideration around training and engagement with the buildings services sector.
- technology: to examine technology development including performance improvement. This considers market changes, ensuring the electricity grid can support the technologies, heat storage and improving the efficiency of heating systems such as boilers and heat pumps.

- information and advice: to provide more accessible advice and information about Microgeneration to consumers. It also considers the need for long term financial incentives, the need for good maintenance of systems and a property specific approach.

The final chapter looks at broader issues, with a focus on community-level solutions and decentralised energy more generally.

Carbon Reduction Commitment

The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) came into force in April 2010 and is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting and pricing scheme to cover all organisations using more than 6,000MWh per year of electricity (equivalent to an annual electricity bill of about £500,000). It includes:
- an emissions reporting requirement
- starting in 2012, participants will buy allowances from Government each year to cover their emissions in the previous year. This means that organisations that decrease their emissions can lower their costs under the CRC. A publicly available CRC performance league table will show how each participant is performing compared to others in the scheme.

In October 2010, the Government announced significant changes to the CRC as a part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, primarily that money raised from the sale of allowances will be retained by the Government rather than recycled back to CRC participants.

The price of allowances has not yet been determined but the intent was to sell allowances at a fixed price of £12 per tonne CO2 through fiscal year 2012/13, with a floating market price after that.

for further information, contact Debbie Haynes e-mail or 01993 861349