New research highlights potential for energy system win-win-win

12 June 2015

A new research report has been released today investigating the potential for electricity network operators to make a direct contribution to preventing fuel poverty, by investing in domestic energy efficiency improvements.

The report investigates the possibility to divert budgets allocated to load-related network upgrade schemes into local schemes that improve energy efficiency for those who need it the most. The idea could help to challenge current network planning processes and the report seeks to explore the viability of applying this concept.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of NEA commented:

We have been delighted to work with AgilityEco and Northern Powergrid on this collaborative study investigating the potential for distribution network operators to make alternative investments such as domestic energy efficiency to avoid network reinforcement costs. We hope the results present some tangible opportunities to combine environmental, social and economic imperatives whilst delivering lasting benefits for Northern Powergrid’s customers”.

Gearóid Lane, Chief Executive Officer at AgilityEco highlighted:

It was a privilege for AgilityEco to be selected by Northern Powergrid to work alongside NEA on this important project. The energy sector is changing, and it is encouragingto see network companies like Northern Powergrid get on board and explore ground-breaking ideas, such asthe one studied in this report. This research explores the potential for a strategy that consists of network companies investing in targeted, local demand reduction through energy efficiency, as an alternative to network reinforcement. The improvement in energy efficiency would bring financial and well-being benefits to hard-pressed consumers. The joint contribution of all three parties brought collective insights into the size of the prize, the economic feasibility and the practical issues of such a strategy”.

John Barnett, Commercial Director at Northern Powergrid added:

We wanted to explore the premise that in some cases, permanently reducing peak energy demand is socially, financially, and environmentally better than creating extra capacity in the network to cope with increased peak demand. The onus is now on ourselves and our partners to do more work in depth to understand better the constraints and opportunities identified in this report for distribution network operators to help alleviate fuel poverty”.

* ENDS *

NOTES TO THE EDITOR

  1. For all media enquires please contact peter.smith@nea.org.uk or call 07595780893.
  2. The full report can be downloaded for free by clicking here.
  3. National Energy Action is a leading fuel poverty charity working across the UK. We undertake a range of activities, including research and analysis into the causes and extent of fuel poverty; campaigning for strategic action to make homes warmer and energy bills lower for the poorest and most vulnerable; local demonstration projects and developing and delivering national training and qualifications to improve the quality of energy advice and services to vulnerable households. For more info, please visit www.nea.org.uk or speak to Peter Smith.
  4. Northern Powergrid runs the power network that delivers electricity to the doors of 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire. It takes electricity from National Grid’s transmission network (which connects the larger power stations) and from smaller generators (such as wind farms) that are directly connected to its network which consists of 61,000 substations, and around 91,000 km of overhead wires and cables. For more information regarding Northern Powergrid contact: yourpowergrid@northernpowergrid.com.
  5. AgilityEco provides a range of professional services to clients in both the public and private sectors in the area of energy efficiency. They offer knowledge of residential carbon reduction policy in the UK and use this to help clients unpick complex support mechanisms so that they can unlock funding opportunities for energy efficiency projects. For more info please contact:enquiries@agilityeco.co.uk.
  6. The UK Government introduced a new duty in December 2014 to ensure that as many fuel poor homes ‘as is reasonably practicable’ achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030. Currently, less than 5 per cent of fuel poor households in England have an energy efficiency rating of Band C and above and current annual spending on energy efficiency improvements in fuel poor homes in England amounts to less than half the required investment. The results of this report could therefore help identify a new source of funding for energy efficiency improvements in low income homes and address some of the shortfall which needs to be met.
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