blank
Connect with us

Energy

Welsh Government to extend fuel support scheme

Published

on

More than 400,000 low-income households in Wales will be eligible to benefit from a £200 payment to help keep their homes warm this autumn and winter.

The Welsh Government is investing £90m in the Fuel Support Scheme in recognition of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on those struggling to pay their energy bills.

Advertisement

Previously, around 166,000 households on universal credit, legacy means-tested benefit and working tax credits benefitted from the £200 2021/22 Winter Fuel Payment.

The extension of the fuel support scheme will mean nearly 200,000 more households on child tax credits, pension credits, disability benefits, carers allowance, contributory benefits and those receiving help from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to pay their council tax bill will now be eligible.

The scheme is being extended as the impact of the current cost-of-living crisis is greatest on low-income households and to allow more households on benefits to be eligible.

Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said the scheme was being extended so the most vulnerable struggling to make ends meet could afford to keep their homes warm during the cold winter months.

“We know a lot of households are feeling anxious and worried about their rising energy bills, so we hope this extension of our Welsh Government Fuel Support Scheme to many more people will provide some comfort in these challenging times.”

Advertisement

It comes after the Minister announced earlier this year that the 2021/22 Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment would be doubled to £200 as the cost-of-living crisis intensified and to support eligible households with rising energy bills and costs.

The extended Fuel Support Scheme includes the £4m announced last month for the fuel voucher scheme to support those on prepayment meters and households not connected to mains gas.

The extra funding and target support comes as households across Wales are struggling to pay higher energy bills, exacerbated by the increase in the domestic energy cap rise in April. There is expected to be a further rise in the cost of energy and standing charges in the autumn. People with prepayment meters are the most susceptible to rising costs and increased standing charges.

Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said: “We know people across Wales are struggling to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis, as they see inflation, petrol, essential household items and energy bills all rising.

“We are targeting the Fuel Support Scheme at low-income households and extending the number of those eligible, as we understand how the winter months can be the hardest of the year and families face the difficult choice of heating or eating.

Advertisement

“We are committed to supporting the most vulnerable and doing everything we can to ensure they can get through this difficult moment.”

The Minister visited the DOVE Workshop in Banwen, Neath, on Wednesday (20 July), to meet with people who will now be eligible for the Welsh Government fuel support scheme, including those in households with someone receiving Carers Allowance, Pension Credit and disability benefits.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said: “Carers Wales welcomes this announcement as we had asked for the eligibility criteria to be extended to include Carers Allowance and other legacy and contributory benefits to support the maximum number of unpaid carers.

“Our research shows that carers were already struggling to manage financially and this has been intensified by the impact of the cost of living crisis.

“Carers are raising significant concerns about how they will cope this winter, so all that can be done to help alleviate the pressure is much appreciated.”

Advertisement

Business

Energy intensive industries could get further relief under new Government proposals

Published

on

By

High electricity using businesses like steel and paper mills could see further relief under new proposals to help subsidise their electricity costs.

The UK Government is consulting on the option to increase the level of exemption for certain environmental and policy costs from 85% of costs up to 100%.

Advertisement

This reflects higher UK industrial electricity prices than those of other countries including in Europe, which could hamper investment, competition and commercial viability for hundreds of businesses in industries including steel, paper, glass, ceramics, and cement, and risk them relocating from the UK.

The proposal would help around 300 businesses supporting 60,000 jobs in the UK’s industrial heartlands. Looking at ways to reduce the cost of doing business for key industries would help secure the future of domestic manufacturing and maintain a competitive business environment in the UK, ensuring economic growth and protecting thousands of jobs across the country.

The Energy Intensive Industries Exemption Scheme provides businesses with relief for the costs of renewable levies, including Contracts for Difference, the Renewable Obligation and Feed in Tariffs, in their energy bills.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “British manufacturers are the lifeblood of our economy and central to our plans to overcome this period of economic uncertainty.

“With global energy prices at record highs, it is essential we explore what more we can do to deliver a competitive future for those strategic industries so we can cut production costs and protect jobs across the UK.”

Advertisement

Director General of UK Steel Gareth Stace said: “The publication of this consultation is a significant step forward in delivering competitive electricity prices for the UK steel sector and should provide some much-needed relief in the face of extremely challenging circumstances at the current time. While there remain difficulties, this announcement demonstrates that UK Government understands the challenges of British industry and continues to support steelmakers and steel communities across the country.”

(Lead image: Gareth James / Geograph / Creative Commons 2.0)

Continue Reading

Carmarthen

Health board completes first solar farm at its St Davids site in Carmarthen

Published

on

By

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s (UHB) first solar farm has been installed at Hafan Derwen, located on the Parc Dewi Sant site in Carmarthen.

The 1,098 panels have been installed on an area covering just over one acre. The 450 KW solar farm scheme aims to deliver on-site generated electricity directly to the Hafan Derwen site, which is estimated to lead to an annual carbon savings of 120.43tCo2e, along with financial savings.

Advertisement

The surrounding land is being developed to enhance biodiversity providing an area for staffto rest and relax while surrounded by wildlife which will have a positive impact on how staff perceive their workplace and offer a respite from a busy working environment.

Paul Williams, head of property performance at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We are pleased to announce that the solar farm installation work is nearing completion at Hafan Derwen site and it is set to be operational later this summer. The solar project is one of the initiatives aimed at reducing our carbon footprint. The project will generate an on-site renewable energy and also create a greener, environment friendly space for staff with the planned bio-diversity park.

“This is yet another positive step in the direction of tapping on and exploring environment friendly, energy efficient solutions across health board sites.”

The solar farm project is part of the health board’s decarbonisation initiative. This is one of the many steps the health board is taking towards addressing the climate emergency.

In the last few years, roof mounted photovoltaic panels have been installed at nine sites across Hywel Dda, including at Amman Valley Hospital, Bro Cerwyn, Bronglais Hospital, Withybush Hospital, Milford Haven Health Centre, Pembroke Dock Health Centre, South Pembrokeshire Hospital, Llandovery and Cardigan Integrated Care Centres.

Advertisement

In total, these schemes are estimated to save approximately 622,763 Kwh of electricity. Annual carbon savings from these projects are expected to be approximately 153 tCO2e.

Continue Reading

Energy

Farming union calls on UK governments to boost on-farm renewable energy production

Published

on

By

The Farmers’ Union of Wales says Governments must act to boost on-farm renewable energy production in order to increase the UK’s energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The call is one of five demands which form the FUW’s ‘Five point plan’, which comprises key actions which together will help relieve pressures for farmers, food producers and consumers in the immediate term, while bolstering food and energy security in the long term.

Advertisement

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The pandemic and the war on Ukraine has not only emphasised the vulnerability of our food supplies to global events that are beyond our control – it has also brought into sharper focus our reliance on global energy and fuel markets and supplies.”

“Many farmers already play a key role in reducing that exposure through renewable energy production, but we have only tapped into a fraction of what is possible,” he added.

Energy production using fossil fuels is second only to business in terms of contributions to Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions, and is the second highest contributor to emissions in the UK after transport.

In 2020, nearly 23% of the EU’s oil and petroleum imports came from Russia, while Russian oil imports previously accounted for 8% of UK demand. Russia is the world’s largest natural gas exporter, followed by the USA and Qatar, and previously accounted for around 45% of EU gas imports.

“Our reliance on imported fuel and energy can be reduced by increasing domestic production, and farmers are keen to play their part.

Advertisement

“However, we need the restoration of incentives for that to happen – and it must not come at the expense of food production and large areas of farmland,” said Mr Roberts.

Following the introduction of Feed in Tariffs in 2010, there was a rapid increase in renewable energy production on Welsh farmland, but this incentive was withdrawn in 2019 and growth in such production has levelled off significantly.

“Both the UK and Welsh Governments must step up efforts that restore growth in the industry by incentivising on-farm production of renewable energy – thereby reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and imported energy.

“The Welsh Government’s decision to remove business rate relief for privately-owned hydropower projects has also served as a significant barrier to investment, while obstacles such as landscape designations and disproportionate regulations continue to work against renewable energy production.

“Government must therefore seek to remove barriers and restore incentives in order to boost agriculture’s contribution to our energy security,” he added.

Advertisement

(Lead image: FUW)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News