Money for Industry and your MEES gets higher

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Firstly, I need to apologise for the lack of a policy report last week. This week’s issue mops up all the outstanding updates but I am ashamed to have missed one and will hope to do better in future.

Government believes that the property sector should also do better and has set out proposals to tighten the regulations on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). Currently, leased commercial properties need to be at least an E rating but these new plans will raise that minimum standard to an EPC Band B.

Great news for energy efficiency fans. Even better news for companies selling energy efficiency solutions!

ICON believes this will be a key mechanism for driving the energy efficiency market and decarbonisation so we will be responding to this consultation – we’re hosting a conference call on Friday 15th November at 12:00 to explain our analysis in more detail so email me back, if you want to get involved.

Talking of tightened regulations, government is out and proud and planning for an environmental future without EU governance.

The new Environment Bill was placed before Parliament last week, setting out how we will manage our objectives for long-term environmental regulation and leadership. There are seven key areas of focus. Possibly the most impactive to business day-to-day environmental management are the sections on water resources and on waste management and the circular economy, both of which set out plenty of scope for more regulation in the near future.

Government also thinks more regulation should be introduced to manage heat metering and has another consultation out on changes to the Heat Network (Billing and Metering) Regs. The proposals will change the methodology for determining whether an action is cost effective, meaning more projects will come into scope. Eventually, they want all users connected to a heat network to be metered and billed based on consumption.

Not everything government does is about laying down the law however. Sometimes, they give money away too.

BEIS has £315 million set aside to help industry become more energy efficient and is asking for views on how this fund should be structured – who should be eligible, what types of projects should be considered, etc. Again, we are responding to this consultation so let me know if you want to see a copy of our response.

Funding decarbonisation should be of particular interest to businesses in Scotland – the Scottish Government has partnered with the National Investment Bank to create a £3billion Green Investment Portfolio and the call for projects is open now. They expect projects to come from a range of sectors, including industry and the eligibility is quite broad – basically, does it help Scotland to be more economically and environmentally successful? If so, get an application in! What have you got to lose?

Whilst we’re not all off-grid yet, we do still need to pay attention to National Grid so it’s good news that in their Winter Outlook report, they are predicting that supplies of both gas and power over the winter should be comfortable. However, triads are expected to be more difficult to predict – something they probably don’t need to tell the average energy manager. This is partly due to increased battery capacity coming online which makes the forecasting more tricky. A consultation from Ofgem on changing the planning regime for large storage projects should mean this trends to shift to storage continues to grow.

Renewables are strong too. Very strong. The publication of the latest set of energy trends data shows that in the last Quarter, renewables counted for 35.5% of electricity generation in the UK, an increase of nearly 10% over last year – although down 14% from the previous Quarter which was the second highest on record for renewable power.

Finally, for anyone looking at rollout of Electric Vehicles, Ofgem has produced a handy little “Need to know” guide which sets out when an energy supply licence might be needed; anyone undertaking a substantive roll-out of chargepoints should take a look at this and make sure you are engaging both your electricity supplier and your DNO in the conversation – full engagement makes certain we don’t get inadvertently caught out. As Bob Hoskins once said, “it’s good to talk”.

As ever, if you have any questions, let me know and in the meantime we’ll be working up some witty retorts – or maybe just some well thought out responses – to the ongoing consultations.

With kind regards,

George

For more information, or to download this week’s full report, please log onto the ICON app.