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Energy minister Greg Barker discusses CRC during live Q&A

Energy minister Greg Barker recently answered questions on the CRC scheme during a live Q&A session.

Mr Barker began the discussion by defining the CRC scheme: “CRC stands for Carbon Reduction Commitment but like BP we have moved on to just initials but the new long name is CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.”

He explained that the scheme uses a combination of drivers to encourage energy efficiency, including behavioural and reputational, as well as financial.

Renewable Energy Association senior policy analyst Mike Landy asked the minister how the following statement in the Government’s CRC consultation response “Government will therefore consider how the CRC can incentivise the uptake of onsite renewable self-supplied electricity,” is being turned into concrete measures.

Mr Barker replied: “I am really keen to do this. Driving a much more joined up agenda on corporate energy efficiency and decentralised energy by encouraging much more on site generation is a key objective of mine. Clearly we don’t have lots of money to throw at this problem but we are now introducing a lower emissions factor for onsite self-supply of electricity but I am exploring other cost effective ways of driving it further.”

Mr Barker hopes that the Treasury having to stop revenue recycling in order to help pay down the deficit will not “last forever”, and the Chancellor has said that the government will review this element of the scheme when the public finances allow, although this may be some time in the future. However there is a review planned for 2016.

Stepping in for the minister, DECC policy representative Paul McLaughlin said from Phase 2, new flexible rules on how organisations participate in the scheme will be introduced. This will allow participation in the way that best suits the participating organisation.

Mr McLaughlin said the scaling back of the CRC will also strengthen the scheme: “The emissions coverage of the scheme is only slightly reduced following simplification in exchange for radically reduced admin costs for participants. The strength of the drivers remains, in our view.”

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