With a bleak energy future predicted for the UK, is now the time to tap into government grants and reduce your burden?
A rather grim energy prediction emerged for the UK this week courtesy of regulator Ofgem, who estimated that the region’s spare electricity generation capacity could plummet by as much as ten per cent over the next three to four years. The forecast is based on data from the regulator and the National Grid and formed part of the first annual Capacity Assessment.
The message that resonates from this report is that the UK either needs to use less energy or find new ways of generating more energy in a more environmentally friendly way, particularly with carbon reduction targets putting pressure on governments to close oil and gas-fuelled power stations. With this in mind, we compiled an overview of financial assistance that is currently available to help reduce domestic energy use in the UK. The outlook may look bleak, but there’s no need for blackout if action is taken at all levels.
Insulation help from energy suppliers in line with CERT
Many UK consumers don’t realise that there is support available directly from energysuppliers to help reduce energy use in the home. Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) energy suppliers are responsible for helping homes introduce energy efficiency measures and one of the ways they are doing this is by installing subsidised or free cavity wall and loft insulation. This scheme runs until December 31st this year and will be replaced thereafter by the Green Deal.
Homes that generate their own energy with solar voltaic panels or wind turbines are paid for their efforts. They earn money for the energy they generate for themselves and any extra they feed back to the grid, though this has been at a lower rate since August 1st 2012. Since the FIT rates reduced, solar panel installers have reported a significant drop in interest in their products, though there is still good money to be earnt from making the switch. According to government estimates, a home fitted with a 2.5 kilowatt solar system could earn £920 a year for generating electricity, £30 for energy they export back to the grid and save £170 each year on their energy bills. For more information see, here.
Warm Front (England only)
Financial help to improve central heating systems and insulation is available to people where both they and their property qualify. Those who qualify are groups claiming benefits who have an income of less than £15,860 and live with a child under 16, are aged over 60 or are disabled. To check if you qualify see here. Grants for works such as loft insulation, draught-proofing and cavity wall insulation can be claimed up to £3,500 and if your assessment recommends you replace your heating system with an oil or alternative technology system the limit rises to £6,000. Money paid out on the scheme goes directly to approved Warm Front contractors for carrying out the work.
The Green deal
Initially due to launch in April 2012, the latest information suggests the finance element of the Green Deal will come into play from January 2013. Under the scheme households and business will be able to carry out work to make their properties more energy efficient and then pay back the cost of the work via their energy bill. It is hoped this scheme will go a significant way towards reducing the UK’s domestic energy use.
This post is authored by Fay Nyberg, a journalist and blogger who regularly writes on business, environmental and finance issues. She occasionally writes on behalf of Help Link UK.