Much of the sustainable energy sector is fragmented, with small or fledgling companies attempting to introduce innovative solutions. Whether they are about energy saving or new renewables these innovative sectors need support. Government needs to hear of their benefits. The Public needs to know when they can be used - and when they shouldn't. Standards may need to be agreed but cowboys may need to be discouraged from taking advantage of new public enthusiasm. And Entrepreneurs need to know that they are not doing this alone.
The National Energy Foundation can help.
Supporting Sustainability through Secretariat Services
The National Energy Foundation can support initiatives in the sustainable energy sector through secretariat services for certification schemes and trade associations. We work with new initiatives from the earliest stages, providing cost-effective management for growth sectors in sustainable energy. This can be through "clubs" of like-minded entrepreneurs introducing a new concept or product. Or it can be through a more conventional trade association, where the industry is beginning to reach out to the UK public, but needs to gain confidence and offer assurances of quality. Or it can be through more formal certification schemes, where industry participants need to demonstrate compliance with certain standards.
We can take the lead in setting up a new body, or we can provide support to an existing association. We can act as principal, so members have a direct relationship with us, or as an agent of a board or committee, delivering benefits against a service level agreement. We can manage the entire activity, or focus on a specialist field such as web communication or technical standards. We like to be flexible, as we know that accelerating climate change demands innovative solutions. And we recognise that there may come a time where the industry has reached critical mass and is able to go it alone.
Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme
Consumers were confused about what constituted a green electricity supply. There had been a couple of attempts to draw up a scheme before, but neither had prospered. So Ofgem produced its own guidelines and the largest suppliers of green tariffs formed a loose association. The National Energy Foundation was appointed as its first secretariat, and working closely with the Chair and Certification Panel successfully launched the Scheme in February 2010.
Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme website
Ground Source Heat Pump Association
Ground Source Heat Pumps are an important low carbon source of heating, but had a chequered record in the UK, despite popularity in countries such as Canada and Sweden. The National Energy Foundation initially worked with the companies in the industry to form a club, with financial support from the Department of Trade & Industry. As more firms joined, the Foundation helped club members form a proper trade association, for which it still provides secretariat services, and helped ensure that the technology gained proper recognition in Government grant and support schemes.
Ground Source Heat Pump Association website
Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme
In the early 1990s, a number of large companies had come together in a voluntary initiative to recognise achievements in saving energy through an award. But by the late 1990s the scheme was nearly moribund with under 50 participants and little public profile. The National Energy Foundation took over responsibility for the Scheme in the next few years signed up over 200 members, while increasing the rigour of the independent certification of energy efficiency by members. Recognising its value for the proposed Carbon Reduction Commitment, the Scheme was transferred across to the Carbon Trust and modified to focus on CO2 emission reductions and renamed the Carbon Trust Standard. The Foundation continues to work with the Carbon Trust on the Standard.
Carbon Trust Standard website
Solar Trade Association
Solar Water Heating is the most widely applicable form of renewable energy in the UK. But the industry had won a poor reputation for standards and service, as barriers to entry were low. The National Energy Foundation took over the secretariat of the Solar Trade Association in 2000 and worked closely with its Council to set a benchmark for responsibility in the industry. Over the next 10 years, the Foundation ensured that Members fully met national and European standards and were not guilty of over-selling benefits. Also under the Foundation's leadership, closer links were forged with the stronger industry in Europe, which led to the introduction of the Solar Keymark into the UK, and courses were developed with specialist training providers, to raise standards across the industry and help Members enter the microgeneration certification scheme.
Solar Trade Association website
Energy Efficiency Advice Centres
In the early 1990s there had been a few local initiatives at giving consumers free impartial advice on saving energy at home. The newly established Energy Saving Trust wanted to pilot a network of local information centres and appointed the National Energy Foundation to manage the programme in 1993. With the Foundation's support, a strong regime of independence, training and financial control was established. Independent research showed advice centres were a cost-effective way of saving energy and carbon, so the original time-limited pilot of 30 local centres was extended to a fully funded network covering the entire UK by the time that the Trust took over all direct responsibility for the project in 2001.
Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre website
Find Out More
Although our work in providing secretariat services is limited to the UK, we can also work internationally to share our experience and offer advice. We have helped organisations create certification schemes in energy efficiency and carbon management in SE Asia and Canada, and have explained the benefits - and pitfalls - in creating similar schemes to groups across Europe and Asia.
If you work in the sustainable energy or low carbon field, and feel that your sector could benefit from greater support, then get in touch, and we would love to discuss ways in which we could work together to support sustainable energy.
For further information contact our Secretariat Team on (+44) (0)1908 665555.