Examination of Witness (Questions 580-588)|
TUESDAY 4 DECEMBER 2001
580. Photovoltaics. You did not mention them
earlier. Do you have any strong feelings one way or another on
them? You gave a list at the beginning, and I know they involve
(Mr Tindale) I am sorry if I missed them out and I
am pleased to be able to clarify. We are strongly in favour of
photovoltaics. One of the recommendations we have made to the
PIU is that the building regulations for new build should be changed
to require that all new buildings should be able to generate a
proportion of their own electricity, and that that would be a
challenge to architects. We believe that many of them would then
incorporate photovoltaics into the new build, which is the sensible,
economic way of doing it. Some of them would go for micro-CHP,
some of them would go for micro-wind turbines and some of them
would go for domestic fuel cells, but the important signal for
requirements from the building regulations would stimulate a number
of sectors, and photovoltaics would be one of them.
581. The debate around the energy review to
a large extent, and no doubt understandably, has been dominated
by the debate about how you generate electricity, and that is
where a lot of the fuel sources debate has concentrated. When
we have been talking today the discussion has moved on from time
to time to transport which is an area which you do not mention
in the PIU submission. I would like to ask you a couple of questions
on that. How do you think the Government should be promoting energy
efficiency in the transport sector specifically?
(Mr Tindale) We are in favour of the minimum fuel
efficiency standard which would have to be set at a European level
as a voluntary agreement at the moment, but it is, in our view,
not stringent enough and there are plenty of loopholes and escape
clauses for the industry in it. That is one way of doing it. The
other way of doing it, which is not unwritten and is well documented,
is to influence patterns of transport through providing people
with decent alternatives to the car.
582. In terms of encouraging greater efficiency,
what sort of alternative propulsion systems, for whether it be
road-based public transport or road-based private transport, do
you think have most potential in them, and how do you think they
should be encouraging those systems?
(Mr Tindale) I think you have to draw a distinction
between the immediately available technologies and the ones that
are the real long-term solutions. At the moment there is no really
satisfactory alternative, but there are some alternatives which
are better than the use of oil. So we would point, as interim
measures, to an increased use of road fuel gases which do not
do a great deal to improve CO2 emissions but are very, very advantageous
from the point of view of toxic emissions. We would point to biodiesel
which is quite good for reducing CO2 emissions, and we would point
to a wider use of electric vehicles as interim measures. The long-term
solution, as far as all the evidence we have seen suggests, will
be hydrogen and fuel cells. We welcome the Government's interest
in this area at a rhetorical level and we look forward to seeing
some policies to back that up.
583. What do you think they should be?
(Mr Tindale) We believe that the best way to encourage
hydrogen is to look first of all at the bus fleet, and for the
Government to subsidise the introduction of a number of hydrogen
bus fleets in key cities, which will lead not only to the direct
benefit of those fleets but also to the gradual and piecemeal
development of a hydrogen distribution infrastructure.
584. What would you consider the industry should
be doing, and how would you encourage the industry to do it?
(Mr Tindale) The vehicle manufacturing industry?
(Mr Tindale) The key challenge appears to be onboard
storage of hydrogen. What we would encourage the industry and
the Government to do is to pool resources to tackle that issue
of what appears to be the one remaining technical issue standing
in the way of the use of fuel cells in vehicles.
586. Can I ask one more question in relation
to your first point on the short-term issue of greater use of
things like LPG. One of the things that has got in the way of
that has been the operation of the planning system, and, frankly,
garages feeling that they cannot get the on-site storage, is that
(Mr Tindale) Yes.
587. Would you like the planning system to be
more responsive to encouraging the storage of LPG?
(Mr Tindale) LPG and CNG, yes.
588. I think we have covered most of the points
that we wanted to raise with you. Can I thank you for the information
you have given us. I hope your colleague is better and I hope
that he will be able to send in the written replies to anything
that you feel you want to expand upon.
(Mr Tindale) Nuclear fusion I have a note on. Were
there any other points?
Chairman: There probably will be. We shall drop
you a line when we have paused to reflect on the evidence. Thank
you very much, Mr Tindale.