Turn off the lights - Scotland announces plan to slash energy use

Homes and offices targeted as action plan aims to deliver 12 per cent cut in energy consumption by 2020

Scottish councils will receive £10m in grants as part of a major new
initiative from the Scottish government that aims to reduce the country’s total
energy consumption 12 per cent by 2020.

The first national energy efficiency target, announced today as part of
Efficiency Action Plan
(EEAP), is the latest in a series of measures from
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond designed to help cut the country’s
greenhouse gas emissions 42 per cent by the end of the decade.

Under the EEAP, local councils will be given £10m to help fund free
insulation and energy saving advice for up to 100,000 households – a move the
government said would save Scottish households £2bn on their energy bills up to
2020 while also creating around 10,000 jobs in the green building and energy
efficiency sector.

Businesses will also be encouraged to make use of a new Single Resource and
Energy Efficiency Service that will provide firms with energy audits and advice
on how to cut their energy use.

In addition, a new working group has been established to explore options for
improving the energy efficiency of non-domestic building stock with the
intention of developing new building regulations by 2012.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, Salmond said the public sector will be
required to cut its energy use and will kick off a major efficiency drive by
publishing weekly energy consumption figures for central government offices in

The First Minister said the plan - which follows hot-on-the-heels of a
commitment last months to generate
per cent
of Scottish electricity using renewable energy by 2020 - further
underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to energy efficiency and

"As we will be at the vanguard of the renewables revolution, we must also he
lp lead a revolution in energy efficiency - tackling demand and improving the
efficiency of our homes, transport systems and energy use right across the
public and private sectors," he said.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and
convener of Scotland’s 2020 Climate
said that onus was now on businesses and the government to work
together to deliver on the new plan.

"There are major economic opportunities for business and jobs in Scotland
from energy efficiency services and products," he said. "But we have to remember
two things. First, energy efficiency is about heat and transport, as well as
power. Second, plans are good but delivery is what matters and that is the test
that we must all now pass."

Duncan McLaren, Friends of the Earth Scotland chief executive, welcomed the
energy efficiency target, but warned up-front investment from both the public
and private sectors would be needed to ensure it is met.

"If the government cannot provide the cash, then it must use regulation to
require action, backed by measures to ensure that private financial institutio
ns make the funds necessary available to all," he said. "Funding must come at
low interest rates that allow householders and businesses to pay loans off
through the savings they make on energy bills."

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