The Energy White Paper: A Summary

The Energy White Paper is a document issued by The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) addressing the transformation of our energy system, promoting high-skilled jobs and economic growth as we deliver net-zero emissions by 2050.

What is it?

The Energy White Paper outlines the plans to support the country’s net-zero climate target by transitioning to a clean energy system. It’s a follow on from Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a ‘green revolution’, which was announced in November 2020. The 10-point plan was designed to make our homes, schools, and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, whilst creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.

The Energy White Paper lays out a plan that the Government says will “transform energy”, provide people with a “fair deal” and drive a “green recovery” while supporting up to 220,000 jobs over the next decade.

What is in the Energy White Paper?

The Energy White Paper covers a few different sections such as consumers, buildings, and electric vehicles, which we have broken down below:

Consumers: Energy White Paper

There are various policies aiming to make the energy market “fairer” for consumers, such as:

  • A consultation on creating a framework for opt-in switching.
  • A commitment to consider how current market mechanisms (such as auto renewable and roll-over tariffs) could be reformed.
  • Greater transparency of the environmental benefits of tariffs marketed as ‘green’.
  • Extending programs aimed at helping those in fuel poverty (the Energy Company Obligation and Warm Homes Discount schemes).

Buildings: Energy White Paper

The paper reiterates existing policies in development such as:

  • The Future Homes Standard.
  • The target for as many homes to be EPC Band C by 2035 where practical, cost effective and affordable.
  • Extending existing schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to 2026, the Warm Homes Discount to 2025/6, and regulations for non-domestic rented buildings to be at least EPC Band B by 2030 where cost-effective.
  • Commitments on heating, such as consulting on ending gas grid connections to new homes by 2025, growing the installation of heat pumps, increasing the proportion of biomethane in the gas grid, new funding for heat networks, and evaluating hydrogen as a heating option.

Electric Vehicles: Energy White Paper

  • Government will invest £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways.
  • Government will invest up to £1bn to support the electrification of cars, including for the mass-production of the batteries needed for electric vehicles.

What is the Energy White Paper trying to achieve?

For the environment:

The white paper sets out specific steps the government will take over the next decade to cut emissions from industry, transport, and buildings by 230 million metric tonnes – equivalent to taking 7.5 million petrol cars off the road permanently.

For the industry:

  • Supporting 220,000 jobs in the next 10 years.
  • Added help for those in fuel poverty.
  • Make new and existing buildings more energy efficient.

What are the timescales?

  • Over the next 6 years there will be £6.7 billion of support for vulnerable and fuel-poor households, which will save those groups £400 a year off fuel bills.
  • The Warm Home Discount Scheme (a one-off discount to consumers electricity bill, between September and March) will be extend to 2026 to cover 750,000 extra households.
  • Extension of the Energy Company Obligation to 2026.
  • 600,000 heat pumps to be installed per year by 2028.
  • The government hopes to have “overwhelmingly decarbonised power” in the 2030s to generate emission-free electricity by 2050.
  • The government plans to kick-start the hydrogen economy by working with industry to aim for 5GW of production by 2030, backed up by a new £240m ($321m) net-zero Hydrogen Fund for low-carbon hydrogen production.
  • By the mid-2030s, it expects all newly installed heating systems to be low-carbon or to be appliances that it is confident can be converted to a clean fuel supply.

At HIES we support the move towards low carbon reduction however with the many government policies set out in the Energy White Paper, it must be ensured that consumer protection and quality standards feature highly around the energy efficiency policies. Any policies must also consider supply chains (i.e., there should be enough skilled installers and equipment available).

Adrian Simpson, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, comments:

“The Energy White Paper sets out Government’s ambitious plans for the next few years. We are particularly interested in the plans to create more jobs and to install 600,000 heat pumps. We want to see consumer protection front and centre of any energy related policies and hope that Government has learnt lessons from the Green Homes Grant issues. Installers under any Government schemes should be paid promptly and fairly.”

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