This update contains brief details of Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other policy developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in energy, renewables, energy efficiency and the alternative energy sector, which have been published in the past month.

Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet. All links are correct at the date of publication.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

The following topics are covered in this update:

   Air Pollution    Environmental Liability
   Biomass    Feed in Tariffs
   Carbon Capture and Storage    Green Deal and ECO
   Community Energy    Permitting and Licensing
   Emissions Trading    Shale Gas
   Energy Efficiency  

Air Pollution

Clean Air (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3318): these regulations, which come into force on 7 January 2015, consolidate and update six sets of regulations associated with the Clean Air Act into one set of regulations. The consolidation forms part of the Government’s Better Regulation Agenda and review of the Clean Air Act 1993 and will improve the accessibility and clarity of these Regulations. The regulations supplement provisions in the Clean Air Act 1993 on dark smoke from vessels, arrestment plant, chimney height approval and local authority powers to carry out research and publicity into air pollution. (17 December 2014)

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DECC: Changes to grandfathering policy with respect to future biomass co-firing and conversion projects in the Renewables Obligation: seeks views on the proposal that the support rate under the Renewables Obligation (RO) for future biomass co-firing and conversion projects should no longer be covered by DECC's grandfathering policy. This change would apply to combustion units that move into the mid-range, high-range co-firing or biomass conversion bands under the RO. The consultation closes on 26 January 2015. (12 December 2014)

DECC: Woodfuel advice note: those using biomass to produce heat or electricity will have to comply with mandatory sustainability critera to receive incentives, once the 2015 amended Renewable Obligation and Renewable Heat Incentive orders come into force. These criteria include a greenhouse gas and a land criteria. This guidance sets out the land criteria for those producing heat and electricity from woodfuel as that set out in the timber standard for heat and electricity. This requires woodfuel users to put in place sustainable forest management practices, and to provide evidence that wood can be traced from a sustainable source.  (22 December 2014)

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Carbon Capture and Storage

DECC: £2.5m to develop North Sea CO2 storage: announces £2.5m funding from DECC’s Innovation Fund to encourage development of CO2 storage in the North Sea. The money will help companies identify the next phase of sites under the sea to store the CO2 emissions from coal and gas power stations as well as heavy industry such as steel and cement factories. The closing date for applications is 5 February 2015. (17 December 2014)

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Community Energy

DECC: Community energy support and advice resource – Call for proposals: the Government's Community Energy Strategy includes a commitment from DECC to provide seed investment for the community energy sector in England to develop and build on the existing information, advice and support resources. DECC is considering offering a single grant of up to £100,000 to a suitable grantee, or consortium of grantees, in the community energy marketplace to develop and launch a Community Energy Support and Advice Resource (CESAR). The funding will be split into two tranches, covering financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16. This Call for Proposals sets out the terms and conditions of the grant. The closing date for applications is 30 January 2015. (23 December 2014)

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Emissions Trading

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Allocation of Allowances for Payment) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3262): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2015, amend SI 2013/3103 to set the price of emissions allowances under the CRC trading scheme from 2015. They also provide that payments for allowances may not be made using a credit card. (11 December 2014)

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Energy Efficiency

Policy Exchange: Warmer Homes – Improving fuel poverty and energy efficiency policy in the UK: this report presents a character profile of the 2.3m households in England living in fuel poverty. It finds that over 1m households who cannot afford to heat their home to a comfortable level are in work, while also revealing that the households living in the least energy efficient properties would have to spend as much as £1,700 extra a year to heat their home to a suitable temperature. It suggests that fuel poverty is a complex problem affecting a broad cross section of people, from low income working households to pensioners. The paper acknowledges that the funding gap cannot be met through increased taxation at a time of economic uncertainty and squeezed household budgets, and sets out three ways of meeting the funding challenge within existing budgets. (9 January 2015)

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Environmental Liability

DECC: Environmental damage– Extending the Environmental Liability Directive into marine waters: Consultation on amending the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009 in England and Wales to transpose Article 38 of the Offshore Safety Directive 2013: sets out the Government's response to the July 2014 consultation on proposals to transpose Art.38 of the Offshore Safety Directive 2013/30 that extends the scope of the Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35 to cover all damage to marine waters. The Government states that it will proceed to transpose Art.38 by the transposition deadline of 19 July 2015, taking the opportunity to consolidate the Environment Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009 in England. The Regulations contain a clause providing for a review of them to be conducted in or by 2020. The Welsh Government will make their own set of transposing Regulations, which will also come into effect by July 2015. (18 December 2014)

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Feed in Tariffs

Ofgem: Feed-in Tariffs scheme – Use of automatic meter readers for biennial meter verification: the Standard Licence Conditions require FIT licensees to take all reasonable steps to verify meter readings at least once every two years. This paper seeks views on amending the guidance to reflect the use of automatic meter readers to verify FIT meter reads. Ofgem asks for comments on how the proposed changes will affect scheme participants at an operational level and whether or not there are additional changes that can be made to the guidance. The consultation closes on 12 February 2015. (18 December 2014)

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Green Deal and ECO

DECC: Foundations in place – The ECO and Green Deal Annual Report 2013/14: this first annual report for the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) looks at what the programme has achieved over the first  year and future plans. It includes some case studies and statistics. (17 December 2014)

Ofgem: Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) toolkit: this toolkit for installers and other third parties involved in the delivery of ECO measures, contains a new infographic to clearly illustrate the pathway of an ECO measure. It also comprises updated FAQs and easy one-click signposting to a suite of resources and information. (4 December 2014)

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Permitting and Licensing

Draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2015: these draft regulations, once in force, amend the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 to require operators of certain combustion installations to consider whether the installation of cogeneration (CHP) or waste heat recovery systems would be cost-beneficial, with the aim to increase energy efficiency. This is implemented through a requirement to include in permit applications for new or substantially refurbished installations a cost benefit analysis which considers cogeneration and waste heat recovery options alongside single generation options. (18 December 2014)

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Shale Gas

R (Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association) v West Sussex CC [2014] EWHC 4108 (Admin) (Admin Ct): FF applied to quash the Council's grant of temporary minerals planning permission to Cuadrilla Balcombe Ltd (CBL) for exploration and appraisal of an existing hydrocarbon lateral borehole. FF contended that the Planning Committee had been wrongly advised by the planning officer on a number of matters, including: that it should leave matters such as pollution control, air emissions and well integrity to the EA, HSE and other statutory bodies; about the views of PHE on air emissions monitoring and of HSE on well integrity; and that evidence of CBL's past breaches of planning conditions, the number of objections received and the issue of the costs generated by protesters was immaterial.
The court held, refusing the application, that the court's task was to consider whether the Council had acted lawfully in the way in which it dealt with the planning application, and not to determine the merits. The application was for a lawful activity, which national and development plan policy supported, and which would be the subject of statutory control as well as planning conditions. The approach adopted by the Council towards the relationship of planning control with other regulatory codes and regimes followed national policy guidance as repeatedly endorsed by the courts. FF's case that the Committee was misled was unsustainable on the facts. The officer's approach was entirely in keeping with long standing authority, and also with long standing policy advice, and the Committee was quite entitled to accept her professional view that the matters in question could be left to the other regulatory bodies. Their grounds were all without substance. (5 December 2014)

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