CRC delay to appease business

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is attempting to appease the business sector left reeling by recent changes to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency scheme by delaying its second phase.

Addressing a CBI business lobby group conference yesterday, Huhne admitted that there were many concerns about the scheme and the Coalition want to simplify the situation for businesses.

The CRC launched in April this year, requiring that large energy users, which are estimated to run to around 3500 organisations, register with the scheme and start monitoring and recording their carbon emissions.

But in a shock move, the Spending Review last month indicated that the revenue garnered through the scheme would not be recycled to those showing the greatest improvement in energy efficiency, but would instead end up in the Treasury’s coffers.

Huhne defended the decision, saying:
“The decision not to proceed with revenue recycling was a difficult one, taken against a background of unprecedented pressure on public finances.”

However, he conceded that the Government would now consult on delaying the start of Phase II of the scheme, which would have capped participants’ emissions and allowed trading of allocated carbon permits to meet emission needs.

“This will create a window for us to engage in a proper dialogue with participants about what we need to do to improve it,” he said.
Huhne also added that over 12,000 ‘information declarers’ – organisations that half-hourly meter reading but do not use enough energy to qualify for full participation – will now be removed from the scheme.