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Fuel Poverty

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what pilot projects his Department has undertaken on the use of alternative forms of energy generation for the alleviation of fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement. (271436)

On 23 April 2009, I announced that the Warm Front grant level for low carbon technologies for off-gas properties has increased from £4,000 to £6,000. This will increase the potential for Warm Front to provide renewable heating systems to some of England’s most energy inefficient housing.

New technologies will initially be tested in small-scale pilot programmes, before a decision will be made whether to integrate these as full measures offered through the scheme. Warm Front has already begun piloting solar thermal water heating and air source heat pumps.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what pilot projects run by organisations sponsored by his Department are designed to assess the suitability of alternative forms of energy generation for the alleviation of fuel poverty; which such pilots comprise part of his Department’s assessment of the Government’s future strategy on fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement. (271437)

On 23 April 2009, I announced that the Warm Front grant level for low carbon technologies for off-gas properties has increased from £4,000 to £6,000. This will increase the potential for Warm Front, which is administered by a private company, eaga plc, to provide renewable heating systems to some of England’s most energy inefficient housing.

New technologies will initially be tested in small-scale pilot programmes, before a decision will be made whether to integrate these as full measures offered through the scheme. Warm Front has already begun piloting solar thermal water heating and air source heat pumps.

The Energy Saving Trust, grant funded by DECC, has been undertaking a number of field trials to assess the in-situ performance of sustainable energy technologies. None of these projects was specifically designed to address fuel poverty objectives although energy saving or lower cost energy supply have the potential to help alleviate fuel poverty.

DECC is currently undertaking a review of its fuel poverty policies, which will take into account the findings of any relevant pilot projects. Until the review has delivered its findings it would be inappropriate to consider whether to revise the Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the (a) age, (b) construction type and (c) Standard Assessment Procedure ratings are of each domestic dwelling included in pilot schemes on the suitability of air source heat pumps for the alleviation of fuel poverty wholly or partly funded by his Department; and if he will make a statement. (271444)

The Warm Front Scheme, which is aimed specifically at the fuel poor, has begun a piloting exercise for 200 Air Source Heat Pumps, to evaluate whether this technology should be brought in as a main measure offered through the scheme. Installation of the pumps is due to begin over the summer. DECC has not yet defined the property type which will be used on the pilot, although it is likely that the properties will all be off the gas grid.

The Energy Savings Trust will be incorporating a portion of these fuel poor properties into its own trial sample, for which it has provided Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) ratings for 35 non-Warm Front properties out of an intended 80, though it is not known how many of these are fuel poor.

SAP ratings range from 12 (G rating) to 77 (C rating) for the 35 properties for which data are available. There is a range of house types including detached bungalows, mid terraces and large detached houses. Six of the houses were built before 1900 and so have solid walls, although most of these also had extensions built more recently.