New Clause 21 - Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: report regarding dynamic demand technologies

Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:15 pm ar 9 Chwefror 2006.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

‘(1)The Secretary of State must, not later than 12 months after this section comes into force, publish a report on the contribution that is capable of being made by dynamic demand technologies to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in Great Britain.

(2)The report must state the view of the Secretary of State as to whether it is appropriate to take any steps to promote the use of such technologies, and, if it is, what those steps are.

(3)In forming the view mentioned in subsection (2) the Secretary of State must have regard, in particular, to any matters which would prohibit or inhibit the use of any dynamic demand technology in any circumstance in which its use could be expected to make a contribution to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in Great Britain; and the report must state the matters to which he has had regard.

(4)In this section—

(c)the consumption of electricity, at a particular time, by a device connected to a network, or

(d)the generation of electricity, at a particular time, by an electricity microgenerating system connected to a network,

to be controlled or adjusted automatically by reference to, or matters relating to, the frequency of alternating current on the network at that time;

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Llafur, Southampton, Test

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Hon. Members may still be wondering what the definition of dynamic demand is. It is not what despairing Southampton football club fans are demanding of their team, but a relatively new series of technologies, which overall could make a substantial difference to the deployment of national grid resources. The duty cycle of a device, when it is powered, can be regulated by micro-controllers that detect slight changes in the balance of power supplied to it. In that way, they effectively reflect the extent to which the grid is being heavily used or less heavily used. If attached to a device, the micro-controllers would switch it on when the grid was less heavily used and switch it off again when the grid was more heavily used.

I am sure that hon. Members are now in a state of deep slumber, but I will attempt to awaken them again by referring to the new clause itself. If the new clause is adopted, the Secretary of State will be required, not later than 12 months after it comes into force, to publish a report on what contribution might be made by the technologies to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition to that report—assuming that the technologies are regarded as contributing to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases—the Secretary of State will be required to consider appropriate steps to promote the way forward for those technologies. The devices concerned might include refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters and perhaps heat pumps. There are a range of devices that could benefit from having these dynamic demand processes attached to them.

It is estimated—the figures are, of necessity, a little speculative—that if the devices were fitted fairly widely, more than half a megatonne per year of carbon could be saved. That seems a substantial saving. I hope that the Committee will adopt the new clause. Should it be adopted, I hope that a report will be forthcoming in due course to underline how, in the medium term, such technologies can be used. Obviously, in the case of things such as air conditioners, perhaps that would merely involve putting back some of the deleterious effects on the overall use of energy that we may otherwise see, but, nevertheless, a substantial benefit may be achieved.

Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I do not propose to detain the Committee for long. The hon. Gentleman has again given us a glimpse of his expertise in this area. We strongly support the broad thrust of the measure.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Minister for energy, Department of Trade and Industry

That was very energy efficient; I must learn from the hon. Gentleman.

As we have heard, new clause 21, which might be the last new clause that we consider today, will impose a duty on the Secretary of State to publish a report on the contribution that dynamic demand technologies could make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Britain. The report will also address whether it is appropriate to take any steps to promote the use of those technologies and, if it is, what those steps might be.

We have been taught that dynamic demand technologies are technologies that enable the consumption or generation of electricity to be controlled or adjusted automatically according to network frequencies. I am advised that, in English, that means that these are clever pieces of kit that can adjust the demand of our appliances to help to balance the load on the grid. I have been given an example. If the technology senses through an assessment of the frequency levels that demand is growing, it will turn the fridge down, or so I am told. Another application could be that if the technology senses that a difficult item is coming up on the “Today” programme that might upset a sensitive Minister, the radio will automatically be switched off. [Laughter.] As one of   our distinguished political commentators said: I made that one up. It was so far-fetched, it must have been the one about the refrigerator.

The overall benefit of these technologies is that a smoothed demand pattern leads to a reduced need for back-up generation. It is claimed that that could save up to 0.6 million tonnes of carbon per year. The Government have done very little proactive work in this area to date—I do not understand why—although we have kept up to date with developments. It is clear   that these technologies deserve closer investigation, to establish whether they could make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon emissions.

I am happy to support new clause 21, and I look forward to the conclusions of the report that it requires.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Joan Ruddock.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-nine minutes to Five o’clock till Tuesday 28 February at Four o’clock.