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BEAMA welcomes DECC's proposals for reform of electricity market

06 January 2011

BEAMA has welcomed the Government’s consultation on a package of options for reforming the electricity market. With its focus on affordability, low carbon and security of supply, the association says it goes a long way to reaching the 2050 Pathways aspirations from earlier in 2010, pointing the UK towards an electric future. However, BEAMA’s CEO Dr Howard Porter (pictured) has reservations.

He says: “BEAMA is committed though to ensure that the Government does not see upstream generation as the only solution to an electric future. Through these reforms, the infrastructure development strategy, and the smart meter rollout there are some important policy platforms in place. But, there is still a lot of work to be done on the building side to support the energy shift.” Dr Porter summarises these as:

 All energy saving opportunities from existing technologies need to be exploited by removing existing barriers to market. This will reduce both the peak load and overall energy demand, making it easier to achieve security of supply.

 A clear strategy must be set-out through a partnership of Government and industry for the deployment of best available building services technologies  (eg heating, lighting, hot water) through to 2050. This must reflect the planned decarbonisation of electricity and allow UK industry to ensure that sufficient manufacturing and installation capacity is in place.

He continues: “Building Regulations are an important policy mechanism to encourage take up of smart home solutions, and to open up the market for heating and lighting solutions driven by intelligent control and supply side interoperability. 

“BEAMA will be inviting Government to participate in a dialogue to ensure the allowable solutions element of the zero carbon homes hierarchy encourages the installation of Home Area Networks (HAN) in new buildings.  These HAN-enabled homes, subsequently fitted with smart control, will enable the type of communication platform that can unlock the smart grid approach of demand side management with supply side intervention.
“However, new-build is just a small element of the housing market and policies such as the upcoming Energy Company Obligation and the Green Deal will need to be exploited for HAN support. The HAN will allow domestic consumers to proactively manage their energy use and provide the gateway for new service providers to offer an increasing range of value added energy services. In both cases the HAN will stimulate investment in smart technologies and result in greater control and reduction of energy consumption in UK households.

“In tandem with the proliferation of smart technologies, the Government will need to take a long hard look at how it assesses the carbon footprint of electrical equipment in calculation tools such as SAP and SBEM.  The outdated approach of short term CO2 emission factors will need to be reformed in the next Building Regulations review, in line with BEAMA’s long standing stance of forward projections of at least 15 years. 

“This stance has been further supported by the Zero Carbon Hub’s report on national calculation tools earlier in 2010.  Only through this type of intervention can Government really drive forward the electric future. It is time for Government to fundamentally review the treatment of controls in calculation tools and building policy, specifically for heating and lighting.”

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