The UK’s new Energy Bill has attracted voices of dissent, which claim that it would result in increased cost pressure on housing - both in the rental market and new build premises. In recent times, rent in the UK has gone through the roof, coupled with diminished stock of available rental properties and a vast majority of renters already spend nearly half their income on rent.
(Sourced from Hansard Online UK Parliament)
Energy Bill [Lords] Volume 737: debated on Tuesday 5 September 2023
The new clauses distilled and summarised:
Let’s look at the most contentious ones to begin with:
New clause 16: brings forward a plan with time-bound proposals for low carbon heat, energy efficient homes and non-domestic properties and higher standards on new homes.
New clause 18: seeks to improve the energy efficiency of private rental properties for tenants and gives powers to local authorities to conduct assessments of the energy efficiency of private rental properties and increase financial penalties for breaches of energy efficiency standards.
New clause 31: mandates the installation of solar panels on the roofs of all new homes and require new housing developments to be planned to maximise solar gain.
New clause 62: requires Energy performance regulations relating to existing premises, raising the maximum total of financial penalties to be imposed by a local authority on a landlord of a domestic private rented sector property in relation to the same breach and for the same property to ?30,000 per property and per breach of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.
The other clauses in the new Energy Bill are:
New Clause 1 provides for 5% of the gross revenue of new renewable developments to be paid into local community benefit funds over a wider distance.
New clause 2 prohibits the opening of new coal mines.
New Clause 3 bans energy production from coal from 1 January 2025
New clauses 4 & 12 prohibits the OGA from granting consent to the flaring and venting of natural gas from 1 January 2025
New clause 5 requires an independent body to advise on the date after which no new licences for oil and gas exploration and production should be issued.
New clause 6 provides for the UK’s power supply to be net zero by 2035.
New clause 7 requires the withdrawal of the UK from the Energy Charter Treaty.
New clause 8: Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Export Guarantee Scheme
New clause 9: Community and Smaller-scale Electricity Supplier Services Scheme
New clause 11: enhances the reward for energy customers who install solar panels.
New clause 13: introduces a mandatory social tariff for vulnerable energy customers that are in or at risk of fuel poverty, in addition to the Warm Home Discount and Default tariff price Cap.
New clause 14: ensures prepayment metered customers are prioritised in the smart meter rollout and necessitates creation of a plan to stop self-disconnections before the end of 2026.
New clause 15: prohibits the installation of new prepayment meters unless consumers explicitly request them.
New clause 17: requires a plan to protect vulnerable customers from the rising cost of energy.
New clause 20: requires a plan to significantly increase the proportion of the UK energy supply generated by onshore wind and solar power.
New clause 21: includes batteries used solely to store energy generated by solar panels in the list of energy saving materials subject to a zero VAT rate.
New clause 22: requires a plan to increase grid capacity.
New clause 23: requires an assessment of the average cost of energy bills if homes were insulated (a) properly and (b) to the highest possible Energy Performance Contract rating.
New clause 24: requires the Government to report annually for 5 years on support it is providing to Community Energy schemes and the number and capacity of such schemes that are delivered.
New clause 25: Investment protection agreements and climate change targets
New clause 26: requires legislation to end the regional pricing of domestic energy bills.
New clause 27: requires a report on extending the price cap for off grid fuels.
New clause 28: This new clause would introduce a permanent ban on fracking.
New clause 29: prohibits the approval of new oil and gas field developments and the issuing of new oil and gas exploration and production licenses.
New clause 30: amends the Petroleum Act 1998 to remove the principal objective of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum and replace it with a new principal objective to deliver a managed and orderly phase down of UK petroleum, advance the UK’s climate targets, and support a just transition for oil and gas workers.
New clause 32: probes the potential of decarbonising the capacity market.
New clause 33: requires an Energy Demand Reduction Delivery Plan quantifying sectoral energy demand reduction targets, assessing how these can be achieved, and to review progress.
New clause 34: deals with the production of sustainable aviation fuel.
New clause 35: requires an assessment of the benefits of providing long-term predictable funding to local authorities for the purpose of energy decarbonisation for homes in their local authority area
New clause 36: introduces a National Energy Guarantee in the form of a rising block tariff: an allowance for low-cost energy to cover essential needs, with a premium tariff to incentivise energy saving measures in households with high energy use, and additional allowances for those with unavoidably high energy needs.
New clause 37: requires regulations for the building of industrial lithium-ion storage facilities which must include requiring an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency and for the Fire Authority to be a statutory consultee in planning applications.
New clause 39: extends the duty of Ofgem (Gas and Electricity Markets Authority) to regulate off-grid fuels utilised for off-grid home heating and to ensure that a cap is applied for off-grid home fuels that is proportionate to the cap applied for on-grid homes.
New clause 40: requires the introduction of a Renewable Liquid Heating Fuel Obligation for home and commercial building heating purposes. This would offer the option to off-gas-grid properties to switch to renewable liquid fuels.
New clause 41: is designed to be placed as Clause 1 of the Bill and aims at ensuring the lowest possible costs of energy to businesses and households.
New clause 42: restricts the Energy Company Obligation, which places an obligation on energy suppliers to install energy efficiency and heating measures, to large companies (those with over 1000 employees).
New clause 43: aims to remove the current planning restriction that a single objection to an onshore wind development is sufficient to block the development, to ensure that local communities willing to take onshore wind developments will receive some community benefit, and to provide that local decisions made on onshore wind cannot be overturned on appeal.
New clause 44: prohibits new government subsidies for generating bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) until publication of an independent review to establish its impact on household energy bills, lifecycle carbon emissions, biodiversity and land use, and the Government’s response.
New clause 45: requires the publication of reports on the most energy efficient, most economic and least carbon-intensive means of satisfying the UK’s energy needs.
New clause 46: requires assessment of the viability of projects that have been awarded Contracts for Difference, and to undertake a review of the existing parameters.
New clause 47: requires developers of new NSIP energy projects to demonstrate that their projects do not use, benefit from, or contribute to forced labour.
New clause 48: ends the development of large-scale solar plants on BMV land and requires plans to incentivise the building of solar on rooftops and brownfield sites.
New clause 49: requires that the UK Government sets out a report to Parliament that demonstrates how it plans to meet the increased storage capacity that will be required with a future electricity network that is heavily reliant on renewable sources.
New clause 50: requires consultation on a scheme for renewable liquid heating fuel obligations for home and commercial building heating purposes, and regulations to set up a scheme for renewable liquid heating fuel obligations for home and commercial building heating purposes.
New clause 51: establishes a Tidal Range Assessment Grant to fund an independent review of the potential contribution to be made by tidal range energy generation to future energy generating capacity.
New clause 52: legislates for the design and implementation of a sustainable aviation fuel revenue certainty scheme whose purpose is to give producers of sustainable aviation turbine fuel (ATF) greater certainty than they otherwise would have about the revenue that they will earn from sustainable aviation fuel that they produce. The objective is to contribute to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases.
New clause 56: requires a plan to end the linkage between renewable and low carbon energy and gas prices at retail level which results in most renewable power being priced in the retail market as if it were gas.
New clause 57: This new clause ensures that onshore wind development proposals in England and Wales are permitted to proceed on the same basis as other local infrastructure project
New clause 59: provides for the UK’s electricity supply to be decarbonised by 2030.
Next, we look at another contentious issue - ULEZ