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Sustainable Energy Act 2003

Summary and Background

3.The Government published an Energy White Paper, “Our energy future – creating a low carbon economy” (Cm 5761, TSO 0-10-157612-9), in February 2003. This Act contains a number of sections, all of which are linked to the promotion and achievement of a sustainable energy policy.

4.The Act contains the following main provisions:

  • section 1: a duty on the Secretary of State to report annually on progress towards four specified energy policy goals;

  • sections 2 and 3: a duty on the Secretary of State (and separately on the National Assembly for Wales) to designate and take reasonable steps to achieve at least one energy efficiency aim for residential accommodation;

  • section 4: a power for the Secretary of State (and, separately, the National Assembly for Wales), following consultation with bodies representing local authorities, to direct one or more local authorities to take measures to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation. There is also a duty on local authorities when so directed to give preference to measures that would also contribute to tackling fuel poverty;

  • section 5: a duty on the Secretary of State to set targets for the use by the Government of electricity generated using Combined Heat and Power (CHP);

  • section 6: a duty on the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to undertake and publish impact assessments, including environmental assessments, before implementing significant proposals;

  • section 7: a power for the Secretary of State to direct the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority to pay up to £60 million into the Consolidated Fund from surplus funds arising from the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO). There is also a corresponding duty on the Secretary of State to use the same amount to promote renewable energy.

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