Carbon Zone

Carbon Reduction Commitment CRC

Government fine-tuning CRC

Business leaders got a sneak peak of how the Government's finalised Carbon Reduction Commitment regulations might look this week.

Environmental magazine Sustainable Business, part of the Faversham House stable that publishes edie, hosted a round-table event on the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) on Wednesday.

Niall Mackenzie, head of carbon markets for the Department of Energy & Climate Change, told attendees that Government had taken on board industry concerns about the scheme and was putting the finishing touches to the completed version of the scheme.

The CRC will track the energy use of large organisations and benchmark them against one another, publishing a league table ranking them on cuts they have achieved.

Mr Mackenzie said DECC would be addressing the problem of how to rank organisations that were already well along the road towards carbon neutrality against those who had not done anything to curb their energy use.

As things stand, he acknowledged there was a 'cliff edge' whereby the past efforts received recognition in the first year of the scheme, but were thereafter all but ignored.

The revised version of the regulations will, in all probability, soften the transition by giving far more recognition to earlier achievements in the second year of the scheme too.

Large branding-conscious companies will also be allowed to split up their operations, providing each part is still over the CRC threshold and all parts of the company are still covered.

The example Mr Mackenzie gave was a retail giant that had several different high street chains in its portfolio.

It might, he said, wish to report each chain separately, and would be allowed to do so providing its HQ operations were covered by one of these divisions.

Also, once the company had settled on divisions, it would not be able to reshuffle them to nurse figures during any active phase of the CRC.

The other prickly issue is renewable energy - with many of those organisations which have invested heavily in renewables as part of their carbon reduction package expressing disappointment that the scheme does not recognise this, as it only charts energy used, rather than its source.

Mr Mackenzie said DECC was aware of the concerns, but that this was an energy efficiency scheme rather than a way of promoting renewables, and that those companies would be rewarded by other Government initiatives for their support of clean energy.

He did not rule out a concession though, saying it was possible that there may be some kind of subsidary league table that ranked organisations on their use of on-site renewables.

ESTA's Martin Fry told edie work needed to be done to ensure historic efforts to cut energy were properly recognised by the scheme.

Parsons Brinckerhoff's Lynne Ceeney said that even the brightest stars of corporate energy efficiency could make improvements in the run up to implementation of CRC.

Laurent Mineau of EDF Energy said that the CRC offered an opportunity for a new dialogue between energy companies and their customers.

Sam Bond


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