Heat strategy focuses on home energy efficiency

The government’s long-awaited heat and energy saving strategy was issued for consultation today but has been criticised for focusing almost solely on households

The strategy is out for consultation until 8 May. It was issued alongside consultations on the future of the carbon emissions reductions target (CERT) and the community energy savings programme (CESP) (see stories below).

By 2020, up to 7 million homes will benefit from a “whole house” energy efficiency and heat package, the consultation says. This will include an energy audit and access to financial assistance to install energy efficiency measures, such as loft insulation, and microrenewables, such as solar water heaters.

The scheme will require street-by-street visits from teams of auditors and installers. The consultation asks for views on how this could be done.

Installations could be financed by loans linked to properties and paid back with the money saved on energy bills. At the launch event, energy and climate change Secretary Ed Miliband said loans could be provided by councils, energy companies or even supermarkets.

The consultation confirms that a renewable heat incentive will be introduced in April 2011. This will pay households for each kWh of heat they produce using microrenewables. Details of the incentive will be issued for consultation in the summer.

Although the document is strong on households, it offers little to promote large-scale renewable heat installations:

  • Combined heat and power plants will benefit from the renewable heat incentive, it says. However, it offers no other policies to promote the technology.
  • The government will convene a summit of local government leaders to discuss how to extend district heating schemes. However, no immediate proposals are put forward.

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