Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) can be a useful source of information on the energy efficiency of homes. Around 10,000 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. There has been an increase in the most efficient ratings in the last couple of years (see chart below), driven by growth in housebuilding and the standards now required by building regulations. The proportion of ratings reaching only E,F or G are falling, although 2016 saw an increase in response to a spurt of home-improvement activity through Energy Company Obligation schemes. These schemes have targeted the hardest-to-treat properties and homes in low income areas and on benefits. Just under 10,000 measures were delivered between 2013 and September 2016.
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
To date, the rate of domestic photovoltaic (PV – solar panel) installations in Wakefield has been higher than the West Yorkshire and England averages. At the end of 2016 there were 5,120 domestic PV installations on the Feed-in Tariff Register, giving a combined capacity of 16.9 MW. Non-domestic installations account for a further 2.4 MW.
In 2015, a total of 126,700 MWh of electricity was generated in Wakefield District from renewable sources – this is around 8% of the total electricity used in the District over the same period. Around 12% of renewable generation was from solar, while the largest contribution was from burning plant biomas (see chart opposite). The capacity for generation rose threefold as the new Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 plant became fully operational in July 2015. A second Multifuel plant at Ferrybridge is under construction, as is a 500 kW hydro project on the River Aire near Knottingley. Another 500 kW hydro scheme started generation at Kirkthorpe, near Wakefield, in November 2016. Further information on these hydro schemes can be found at Barn Energy