Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) can be a useful source of information on the energy efficiency of homes. Usually, there are around 9,000 assessments are lodged annually in the district as houses are sold, re-let or improvement grants and Feed-in Tariffs are applied for. An A rating is the most efficient rating and a G rating is the least. The Government’s target is that all domestic properties should have a C rating or better by 2030.
In the latter part of 2019 there was a big increase in EPC lodgements, as the District’s largest social landlord reassessed a large proportion of their stock. Landlords have to conduct an EPC at least every ten years.
A broader analysis of the local private housing stock showed that the average SimpleSAP (another energy efficiency measure) rating for all private sector dwellings in Wakefield is 58, which is better than both England and Yorkshire and The Humber. Despite this relatively good performance, however, the analysis shows that still only 23% of private housing stock has levels of loft insulation that would meet the latest recommendations (at least 25cm of rock wool).
Renewable Energy Generation
The number of new domestic photovoltaic (PV – solar panel) installations in the district slowed dramatically after the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme ended in March 2019. The total number of installations is high, however, and domestic uptake of this technology was higher in Wakefield District than the regional and national average. In 2019, around 20% of the renewable electricity generated in the district came from solar.
The Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 plant (MF1) became fully operational in July 2015 and a second plant at the same site (MF2) started operations during 2019. Each has the capacity to produce 80MW of electricity, making them among the largest energy from waste (EfW) plants in the UK. (At present
the two plants mainly use refuse derived fuel which is not considered a renewable source because it contains non-biodegradable wastes). The MF2 is the most efficient of all the UK’s EfW operations and is estimated to have produced around 540GWh of electricity in 2020 (derived from research by Tolvik Consulting).
A 500 kW hydro scheme started generation at Kirkthorpe, near Wakefield, in November 2016 and a second 500 kW hydro project on the River Aire near Knottingley started generation in September 2017. Both sites also have 1200kWh of lithium-ion battery. Further information on these hydro schemes can be found at Barn Energy