BEAMA proposes amendments to ECO for a balanced and successful affordable warmth scheme
BEAMA has submitted a comprehensive response to the ECO3 consultation document and impact assessment, promoting a vision of a balanced scheme that takes into account a wide range of measures that can alleviate fuel poverty and reduce emissions. The trade association advocates a programme that supports benefits to householders from storage, renewable and demand-response-ready technologies, and complements other Government policy objectives.
BEAMA has argued for several changes to the proposals on electric storage heating (ESH). A more balanced approach, allowing for replacement of less efficient or broken ESHs with higher efficiency and DSR-ready models, takes into account data on cost, long term carbon savings and compatibility with other Government proposals within the Clean Growth Strategy and Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.
BEAMA also pressed the case for combining ECO and RHI support, arguing that as RHI payments do not provide sufficient return to attract Assignment of Rights for the fuel poverty sector, many in fuel poverty who contribute to the ECO scheme through bills and taxes would be alienated from the scheme. Again, the existing proposal would work against BEIS’ aims to decarbonise heat and sow the seeds for a more responsive and efficient national energy system.
Heating controls had a relatively low profile in the ECO consultation document, but BEAMA pushed the case for homes to be lifted above minimum requirements and benefit from highly cost-effective controls including TRVs. Heating controls and ventilation should also be installed whenever insulation is installed to ensure adequate temperature control, prevent overheating and maintain healthy indoor air quality. As the impact assessment takes into account healthcare costs and benefits for measures on warmth, BEAMA has noted that this should apply to air quality too.
The proposal for 10%-20% of suppliers’ obligations to be spent on ‘innovation’ was an interesting one that, after some deliberation, BEAMA offered a balanced take on, suggesting that support for the innovation scheme would very much depend on how it is managed and what it offers. Certain controls technologies would work well, providing they either offer better automatic control of a heating system or use established technologies to tie in with developments around smart energy.
The innovation strand could also support ambitious but potentially hugely significant upgrades to homes using various types of storage – with heat battery technology a particularly exciting development – again using proven technologies in the most beneficial configuration to not only benefit households but to drive developments that others can benefit from in future, in line with BEIS’ existing policies.
There are several issues to be resolved in a short time before ECO3 is launched, including new deemed scores as well as the final proposals, but BEAMA is hopeful that with certain amendments ECO can bring significant savings and comfort to many fuel poor households.
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