Cost of going green: £7,000 a home

IT WILL cost £16 billion to make homes in Scotland energy- efficient over the next decade, according to a new report.

The Scottish Government's new action plan on energy efficiency, published yesterday, revealed the price of steps such as improving insulation and replacing inefficient boilers.

It estimated that this would cost 7,000 per home – a total of 16 billion.

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Last night, environmental campaigners WWF Scotland said it would be "money well spent".

The figure, in "A Consultation on the Energy Efficiency Action Plan for Scotland" came as finance secretary John Swinney announced a 2 million pilot loans scheme to help pay for home- efficiency measures. The cash is aimed at helping to cut carbon emissions from homes by 42 per cent by 2020. Interest-free loans of between 500 and 10,000 will be available.

Mr Swinney said: "The new scheme will provide practical measures that can make the quickest impacts – interest-free loans to upgrade insulation, replace inefficient boilers or install double glazing or small-scale renewables."

Elizabeth Leighton, senior policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: " Scotland's homes account for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore making them low-carbon is key to Scotland achieving its 42 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

"Improving home energy efficiency is a win for not only for carbon savings but for lifting people out of fuel poverty and creating thousands of green jobs.

"The 16 billion price tag sounds a massive sum, but it would be spread over a decade and the cash will come from a mix of sources including energy companies and householders as well as the public purse."

Campaign group Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the launch of the consultation but called for more cash and regulation to cut energy use.

Chief executive Duncan McLaren said: "The government's figure of 7,000 per home may seem eye-watering but compared to the average house value in Scotland, it's a small investment to make homes fit for the future.

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"Government spending of at least 100 million per year is necessary to deliver energy savings and jobs at the scale required."

The Scottish Greens described the plans as "underwhelming and unsatisfactory".

Patrick Harvie MSP said: "SNP ministers want us to believe they understand the benefits and opportunities real energy efficiency can bring.

"Their rhetoric may be excellent, but their actual commitments remain a spectacular disappointment. The loan scheme they're proposing is not even close to the scheme we proposed in last year's Budget. It's a drop in the ocean, a bare minimum so ministers can say with a half-straight face that they've done what they promised."

Mr Harvie claimed that even if every penny was spent on delivering energy-efficiency measures, it would not get the job done in "300 Scottish homes out of more than two million".

He added: "To make it work, to make a real difference to those with hard-to-treat homes, we'd need to see a fund worth tens of millions."

'Longannet the only viable option to meet carbon technology deadline'

A POWER firm should be removed from a competition to win government funding for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, it was claimed yesterday.

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The call from Willie Rennie MP came as E.ON confirmed it was shelving plans for a new coal-fired power station in Kent for up to three years.

He argued the firm should no longer take part in a UK government competition for funding to developing technology at the power station to capture and store carbon emissions because it would miss the 2014 deadline.

If E.ON was out of the competition, it would add to the chances of ScottishPower winning the funding for its Longannet plant in Fife.

However, last night Westminster insisted E.ON was still in the competition, even though its power station will not now be ready until two years after the deadline.

This led to accusations that UK ministers want E.ON to win at any cost – even to the extent of losing the advantage of a cutting-edge climate saving technology – because the Kent power station, at Kingsnorth, needs carbon capture to defeat environmentalist objections.

Mr Rennie, the MP for Dunfermline and Fife West, said: "Kingsnorth is now a dead duck. Longannet is now the only real candidate capable of meeting the CCS deadline. If the company don't withdraw, they should be removed."

Nick Horler, ScottishPower's chief executive, said: "If other bids fall away, our consortium (with Aker Clean Carbon of Norway] is happy to sit down with the UK government and agree the way to deliver their requirements of commercial-scale carbon capture storage to their original timescale."