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Home insulation is ‘key to reducing climate footprint’

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DRIVES to better insulate homes should be a primary focus for the government to combat Jersey’s climate footprint, one of the Island’s largest fuel suppliers has said.

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ATF Fuels – one of four suppliers of domestic heating oil in Jersey – says it is ‘possible’ that the company will see a drop in transport- and home-fuel sales over the next decade if the Island pushes on with ambitious plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Petroleum products, such as oil, account for about 45% of the domestic-energy market in Jersey. Electricity is responsible for about 50%, with gas making up the rest.

The firm’s director, Jon Best, has said he thinks the task of switching about half of Jersey’s domestic-energy supply from fossil fuels to electric would be a ‘significant undertaking to achieve in the next decade’.

He called for government to set ‘milestones’ for liquid fuels to encourage the ‘whole supply chain’ to move to greener alternatives.

And he added: ‘The States’ immediate task should be to encourage and incentivise consumers to improve the infrastructure and efficiency of their homes through insulation, double-glazing, new equipment – including hybrid systems – and smart metering.

‘Undertaking this effective retrofitting could reduce energy demand by up to 25%, although there will be a cost to this which the States should support.’

Last year, the States Assembly voted in favour of Deputy Rob Ward’s proposition to declare a climate-change emergency, committing the Island to aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030.

If agreed by Members, a citizens’ assembly will be formed to help set policies and agree a final target date – which could be 2030 or later – by which Jersey should have net-zero carbon-equivalent emissions.

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Mr Best said: ‘A carbon-neutral strategy, by definition, doesn’t mean that fossil fuels will no longer be used. We believe that we can play a part in achieving net-zero aims recently published by the States. We already have the ability to provide consumers with transitional support to low-carbon fuels, that can easily be dropped into existing infrastructure.’

ATF has been supplying LibertyBus with diesel which includes 7% biofuel for the past three years and Mr Best said further greener fuels were entering the market.

The firm has lodged a planning application to build a new petrol storage and distribution facility at La Collette.

He said: ‘All energy sources have an environmental footprint. However, advances are being made in the heating oil industry. As an example, in 2010 a successful trial of biofuel in heating oil was completed in the UK. Therefore, sustainable biofuel can play a part in home heating in the future too.

‘We do not expect all Jersey homes to remain on heating oil in the future. However, for a large proportion, a drop in low-carbon fuel will still be the best solution. We also do not expect that demand from each home will stay the same, particularly if infrastructure and efficiency of homes is improved. The States should want fuel distributors to be part of the energy mix.’

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
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