While Greg Barker, Minister at the department of Energy and Climate Change, struggles to get the Renewable Heat Incentive up and running in a logical and coherent form and struggles to respond to an enquiry from my Member of Parliament Mike Freer about the lack of certainty in the RHI, the Scots seem to be getting on with decarbonising heat and delivering a cleaner more emission from Scotland that puts DECC to shame. In particular the City of Aberdeen has managed, without much fuss and a great deal less angst and much more common sense than that has been displayed by the chaps at DECC.
Aberdeen City Council is offering a Council Tax discount of up to £200 to any householder who installs a gas energy efficient boiler, renewable heating of low carbon heating which replaces electric, coal or oil heating system. If the householder is on benefits so that the council tax bill is below £200, then the incentive is £100.
Nearly ten years ago I first floated the idea of using a council tax reduction as a means of incentivising microgeneration (in particular solar thermal panels) in “A Concise Guide to Energy in the United Kingdom” (page 140) which Genersys published in 2002. I was able to speak to civil servants about this idea but they took the view that the government did not want to mess about with the council tax system. Presumably they preferred to mess about with the environment.
The beauty of Aberdeen’s plan is that it is less bureaucratic than making direct incentive payments that will be made under the RHI there is a tax discount which is a genuine saving and the plan also delivers genuine savings of emissions which are quantifiable, unlike the present uncontrolled and largely pointless (from an environmental point of view) schemes for photovoltaic energy and wind turbines which has made PV and turbine business get very rich very quickly so much so that they can make derivatives out of taxpayers incentives. It is much more sensible to reduce the taxes as an incentive rather than pay them. It cuts out all the complex financial instruments which have already caused the financial and credit markets to cash and will bode ill for the environment.
One would normally expect common sense to be something that municipal administrations should have by the bucket load but common sense is a quality more absent than present when it comes to climate change measures.
Aberdeen should be praised for their scheme because it is so sensible and I heartily commend the city fathers for their initiative. Bon Accord for Aberdeen and the environment.
Filed under: banking, carbon emissions, climate change, electricity, energy, fuel, gas, genersys, global warming, heat, microgeneration, PV, renewables, solar, solar energy, solar panels, wind turbines Tagged: | A Concise Guide to Energy in the United Kingdom, Bon Accord, City of Aberdeen, Council Tax reductions, DECC, derivatives, financial instruments, greg barker, mike freer, RHI