Skip to main content
Blog Post 29 July 2021

Cleaner energy on the path to zero carbon

Clean energy and the decarbonisation of heat are key to our transition to net zero. Energy Saving Trust supports businesses, communities and individuals in this crucial area

Through a consortium that also includes the Carbon Trust, Energy Saving Trust is delivering a four-year clean energy programme for the Welsh Government, the Welsh Government Energy Service. Our role focuses on renewable energy projects at community level.

Jim Cardy, senior manager, explains: “We provide feasibility studies, technical support and impartial advice for community energy groups. It’s a full service from idea to build. Looking to build a solar farm or wind turbine and have local people own it? We’ll help you make it happen.”

Community groups can access non-grants to help the initial development of low carbon energy projects. At the build stage, we support groups with their application to the Local Energy Loan Fund. Groups borrow to build, then pay this back over time, including via community shares. “We work with community energy groups and the Development Bank of Wales to get the right finance for projects,” says Jim.

Today, the Welsh Government Energy Service supports a range of projects, including complex schemes run by groups with substantial portfolios. We helped Egni Co-op to install 4MW of renewable energy on over 80 buildings. At the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport, we helped install 2,000 solar roof panels – the biggest array in Wales.

Driving this is the Welsh Government’s commitment to generating 1GW from renewables by 2030. A big part of the ambition is to have as much of that energy as possible in local ownership. The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act in Wales also plays a key role.

“All energy decisions,” says Jim, “have to consider the impact on generations to come. It feeds into a stronger appetite for tackling climate change that we’re seeing. Profit is not the main engine here. We’re now selling electricity in an ultra-competitive market like everyone else. It’s really a growing awareness of climate impacts that drives these community renewables projects.”

Air heat pump beside house,

Decarbonising heat systems in Scottish homes

Energy Saving Trust delivers specialist, impartial advice on heat pumps to householders in Scotland through Home Energy Scotland. We provide financial support for these systems via the Home Energy Scotland loan, on behalf of the Scottish Government.

In 2020-21, the service supported homeowners to purchase and install 849 heat pumps, offering £8.3m in grants and loans to boost uptake and help overcome cost barriers. Powered by electricity, heat pumps capture freely available heat energy from the environment and boost its temperature for indoor use.

Anthony Kyriakides, head of renewables, said: “In December, the Scottish Government added a grant element to existing loan funding. Instead of a loan of up to £10,000, households could access a grant or cashback of up to £7,500 and then top up via the loan.” This support continues in 2021.

Financial incentives are part of the Scottish Government’s plan to double the number of domestic heat pump installations annually. According to the UK Government, 600,000 installations will be needed each year by 2028 to meet decarbonisation targets. Says Anthony: “The switch to heat pumps has already started. You can’t just leap to those targets overnight. We need to build it up, year to year. Crucial to this growth will be impartial advice and financial support for homeowners so they are aware of their options and make the best decision for them. We’re here to support them with their contribution to a net zero society.”

Energy Saving Trust also provided £4.5m to North Glasgow Housing Association via the Scottish Government’s District Heating Loan. Funds enabled heat pumps to be installed on the roofs of six residential blocks, benefiting 400 residents with lower cost heating.

“This innovative scheme,” says Anthony, “is a marker for what we want to do more of. As well as cutting carbon emissions and creating local green jobs, we’re taking people out of fuel poverty.”

And through the sustainable energy supply chain programme – a collaboration with Home Energy Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, and the Energy Skills Partnership – Energy Saving Trust is helping installers access new opportunities by upskilling in renewables and energy efficient solutions like heat pumps.

Last updated: 29 July 2021