Officially in our fifth week of lockdown and the novelty is, if we’re honest, starting to wear off.
We’ve started to not only accept but actively adjust to the new norms and whilst no-one wants this to last longer than it needs to, talk is starting, with seriousness, of whether we want to return to the same world as before.
Politicians from both the UK and Germany have called for a “green” recovery, along with business leaders from all over Europe. Speaking at the Petersburg Climate Dialogue, UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma has said that the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals “are a very strong framework to guide our recovery”.
In Scotland, there are already calls for mandatory Climate Change lessons for MSPs and business leaders.
Who’d have thought that even after you’ve grown up and got a job leading your country, you might still have to sign into geography class?
However, since Scotland has also issued severe drought warnings, it may be needed.
Post-Covid recovery and how it will impact us professionally was one of the point of conversation in our webinar yesterday with Sarah Divall of Sustainable Change organisation, Hubbub.
If you missed it, do listen on demand as Sarah shared loads of tips on change management and embedding good practise into everyday work. If you’re interested in learning more about the SDGs, I’ll be covering these in a webinar for Inspired Energy in May – they are hosting loads of great webinars next month and my personal picks are an Update on Net Zero from BEIS and identifying energy wastage to reduce costs.
We also have another upcoming ICON webinar on Futureproofing for Electric Vehicles: the interoperability challenge. Our Guest Expert, Jeremy Yapp is Head of Flexible Energy Systems at BEAMA and sits on the Mayor of London’s EV Infrastructure Taskforce so this should be very informative.
With all good intentions on a green recovery in mind, it’s quite timely that BEIS have a few new consultations out. The consultation on the Future for Low Carbon Heat sets out proposals for two things that will immediately impact energy managers.
A Clean Heat Grant is proposed to provide funding for heat pumps and biomass up to 45kW after the closure of the non-domestic RHI. Biomass will only be supported in certain restricted scenarios due to air quality and carbon abatement concerns. This is expected to begin in April 2022 and will be open for two years.
The government also wants to support green gas so has outlined support for biomethane injection into the gas grid under a snappily titled Green Gas Support Scheme. The good news? This will be funded through a Green Gas Levy on consumer bills.
We do love a good levy.
This is expected to start in the next financial year (2021/22) and will provide tariff payments back to green gas producers, like the Contracts for Difference which support green power.
ICON will be hosting a consultation call on this to explain the proposals and share our draft response. It’s booked for Tuesday 16th June at 10am. If you want to join in, please email [email protected]
In Scotland they also have a consultation out, looking specifically at heating in the domestic sector and how to better support take-up of low carbon options. This one is worth a look for Social Housing and Local Authority readers in Scotland.
The Energy Systems Catapult may already have insights on this as they have just published a report on Understanding Net Zero: A Consumer Perspective. From a survey of over 2,000 individuals and organisations they conclude that meeting our carbon budgets and NZ target is achievable and that end-user behaviour is key to this happening.
Cue the way for many more policies to support flexibility.
For example, the latest move from the DCUSA panel (Distribution network Connections and Use of System Agreement). They are voting this week on whether to create publicly available registers of all distributed energy resources above 1MW (generation, storage and demand management) that provide network flexibility.
This will include things like your MPAN, Address and Type of Technology.
Whilst some may see this as an invasion of privacy, it would make it easier for end-users to see where others nearby have complementary technologies and to agree shared access rights, subject to the ongoing Ofgem review on Network Access (see the ICON reports from last April and November for updates).
We’re keeping constant tabs on this as I know the various Ofgem reviews – Targeted Charges, Network Access and Balancing Services will impact us all once the changes start hitting our electricity bills.
One policy which has been very effective at controlling costs on energy bills whilst supporting energy efficiency is the Climate Change Agreement scheme. BEIS are consulting on whether to extend and how to replace this scheme – which is covered in last week’s policy review.
We are hosting another conference call on the CCA consultation on Thursday 28th May at 10am. Again, please email [email protected] to get involved.
For example, in Spain, they have set out proposals to make Power Purchase Agreements mandatory for Energy Intensive consumers – is this something we should be looking to do?
As sunny weather combined with restricted travel has led to new records for coal-free generation and production of solar power, the decisions on how we achieve the Green Recovery that Alok Sharma desires are going to be fundamental to how the energy sector and all sectors operate once more.
I, for one, am hoping that we manage to protect both the environment and the economy.
It can be done.
Yours in hope,
For more information, or to download this week’s full report, please log onto the ICON app.