News, Retail

Government invests £5 million to help keep the lights on

Sainsbury's is one of a number of companies to bid for an Electricity Demand Reduction grant, as Whitehall eyes ways to keep the lights on in winter.

The Government is investing nearly £5 million to encourage leading UK firms such as Sainsbury’s, to install energy efficient lighting.

The money is part of an attempt by Whitehall to reduce peak time energy levels as fears rise that the National Grid will not be able to cope with electricity demands this winter, leading to nationwide blackouts.

A string of leading companies, including British Gas, Sainsbury’s, Sony and BAE Systems, have bid for funding in the second auction of the Electricity Demand Reduction (EDR) pilot.

Plumbing firm Wolseley UK received an EDR grant of £100k and is using the money to kit out its distribution centre with upgraded LED lighting.

The company claims that the new fixtures will reduce its electricity demand by 236,000 kWh, which is enough energy to power more than 300 homes.

Wolseley worked closely with Cloudfm on the maintenance work, a partnership that has also led to Wolseley’s head office in Leamington Spa being awarded a BREEAM “Excellent” rating.

The scheme works by encouraging consumers to provide capacity in the form of megawatts to help the UK meet its energy efficiency targets and reduce pressure on the National Grid. The pilot also reduces the energy bills of those involved.

The Government had originally allotted £6 million to the pilot, but a lack of uptake meant that not all the money was allocated.

This is the second time that an EDR auction has failed to reach its target, the first, held last year, saw only £1.28m out of a total of £10 million being snapped up.

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