New Energy Efficiency Action Plan will Cut Fuel Bills


Scotland’s first national target to improve energy efficiency was unveiled today by First Minister Alex Salmond.  The plan will see local councils given £10 million in grants to offer free insulation measures and provide energy saving advice to up to 100,000 households.

The Energy Efficiency Action Plan includes a headline target to reduce total energy consumption by 12 per cent by 2020 and it is claimed that Scots will see their fuel bills drop by an average of £50 a year.

Together with existing commitments, including the target to generate 80 per cent of Scottish electricity consumption levels from renewable energy within the next decade, the energy efficiency target will be key to delivering Scotland’s world-leading carbon-reduction target of a 42 per cent cut in CO2 by 2020.

By improving household energy efficiency, Scots could save an estimated £2 billion by 2020 from smaller energy bills, while investment in energy efficiency over that period could directly support around 10,000 jobs in Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond outlined the details of the plan as he chaired the latest meeting of the Energy Advisory Board in Edinburgh.

Mr Salmond said:

“Scotland is well-positioned to power the low carbon economy, harnessing our vast renewables potential. Just as we will be at the vanguard of the renewables revolution, we must also help lead a revolution in energy efficiency – tackling demand and improving the efficiency of our homes, transport systems and energy use right across the public and private sectors. Energy use is responsible for the major share of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Making our homes and other buildings more energy efficient is the easiest and quickest way to cut carbon emissions, while reducing fuel costs and supporting jobs.

“The £10 million of grants I’m announcing today will help local authorities provide advice and offer free insulation and other energy saving measures. It will help thousands of families to cut their fuel bills by an average of £50 a year and builds on previous investments, including the £15 million discounted and free insulation scheme announced earlier this month. Not only will these initiatives reduce families’ bills and their carbon footprint, but they will also create and support employment for insulation manufacturers, installers and energy advisors.

“The public sector must also do more to ensure their buildings are becoming more energy efficient. The Scottish Government will take a lead by committing to publishing details of the Scottish Government’s weekly energy consumption in our headquarters by Spring 2011.

“Today’s Action Plan reaffirms our ambitious energy efficiency and microgeneration agenda for Scotland. It will play a key part in meeting our world-leading climate change targets and in so doing create employment, promote new technologies, reduce costs for consumers and secure wider economic benefits from the transition to a low carbon economy.”

The Action Plan sets out steps to help achieve the new efficiency target, including:

  • Encouraging behaviour change and delivering consistent, accessible advice
  • Supporting households to reduce domestic energy bills
  • Improving energy efficiency across housing stock
  • Creating a single energy and resource efficiency service for Scottish businesses
  • Ensuring public sector leads the way with exemplary energy performance and reporting – including, for example, publishing weekly energy consumption in Scottish Government headquarters
  • Creating an energy and fuel efficient transport system
  • Ensuring training and education systems are equipped to enable as many people as possible to benefit from business and employment opportunities in energy efficiency.

Ian Marchant, Convener of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group, said:

“Energy efficiency needs a major raising of our collective game, so I strongly welcome the Action Plan. Scotland is targeting both economic growth and recovery, while seeking to significantly reduce energy consumption – this ‘decoupling’ will be a first for a modern economy. There are major economic opportunities for business and jobs in Scotland from energy efficiency services and products. But we have to remember two things. First, energy efficiency is about heat and transport, as well as power. Second, plans are good but delivery is what matters and that is the test that we must all now pass.”

Mike Thornton, Director of the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland, commented:

“We welcome this plan; setting a target for maximum energy consumption is encouragingly ambitious and we also welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to energy efficiency as a cost-effective contribution to meeting climate change targets. We will continue to help Scottish consumers stop wasting energy and save money on fuel bills by providing free and impartial advice through the network of Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centres which we manage on behalf of the Scottish Government; this network already reaches more than 250,000 households each year and we look forward to it making a significant contribution to achieving Scotland’s new energy efficiency targets.”

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, set a statutory target to cut CO2 emissions by 42 per cent by 2020. The achievement of the target is supported by annual and sectoral targets. This includes an expansion in renewables to provide the equivalent of 80 per cent of domestic electricity demand by the end of this decade. The First Minister has also stated his confidence that Scotland will be producing renewable electricity in volumes equivalent to its entire demand by 2025.

Today’s Action Plan introduces a headline target to reduce Scottish final energy consumption by 12 per cent by 2020. This measures actual end-use consumption and so gauges real impact, rather than a modelled impact based on the number and types of efficiency measures installed. The EEAP also outlines a reporting framework with key indicators across housing, non-domestic buildings and transport to provide supportive information to the headline target. It also sets annual energy efficiency targets based on yearly maximum consumption levels.

The First Minister announced last week that resource use and energy efficiency would be a key focus at next year’s Scottish Low Carbon Investment conference.

By improving household energy efficiency through a range of measures, Scots could save an estimated £2 billion by 2020 from smaller energy bills. Investment in energy efficiency over that period could directly support around 10,000 jobs in Scotland, mainly in retrofitting existing buildings, with additional employment likely to result from the associated manufacturing, operation & maintenance, and scheme management activities.

The Universal Home Insulation Scheme is a £10 million programme available to support a new area-based, free-to-all energy efficiency measures, delivered by local authorities. Around 100,000 homes across Scotland will be contacted with advice on energy efficiency measures and offered the opportunity to participate. The UHIS is additional to the £15 million announced last month for the Home Insulation Scheme. That scheme offers a mix of free and discounted measures according to income and is delivered by the Energy Saving Trust. The UHIS was announced in February 2010 and local authorities were invited to submit proposals on a competitive basis. Bids from 27 local authorities amounting to £17 million were submitted and the allocations announced today are as follows:

(Local Authority – Grant offer)

  • Aberdeen City – £500,000
  • Aberdeenshire – £650,000
  • Argyll & Bute – £520,000
  • Dundee – £250,000
  • East Ayrshire – £500,000
  • East Dunbartonshire – £250,000
  • East Lothian – £470,000
  • East Renfrewshire – £110,000
  • Edinburgh – £510,000
  • Eilean Siar – £320,000
  • Falkirk – £370,000
  • Fife – £850,000
  • Glasgow City Council – £435,000
  • Highland Council – £490,000
  • Inverclyde – £200,000
  • Midlothian – £270,000
  • Moray – £110,000
  • North Ayrshire – £192,000
  • North Lanarkshire – £380,000
  • Orkney – £160,000
  • Perth & Kinross – £590,000
  • Renfrewshire – £365,000
  • South Lanarkshire – £800,000
  • Scottish Borders – £440,000
  • South Ayrshire – £500,000
  • Stirling – £270,000
  • West Dunbartonshire – £96,000

Among the schemes to benefit from the grants announced today are:

  • Aberdeen: A project to offer more than 8,000 houses in the coastal communities of Nigg, Torry and Cove, a variety of measures including loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and draught-proofing;
  • Glasgow: a project to offer more than 6,000 properties in Dennistoun and Kelvindale similar measures, with a particular focus on pre-1919 sandstone tenements;
  • Argyll and Bute: a project to offer more than 2,000 homes in Dunoon a variety of measures, including free internal insulation to solid wall build houses.