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UK: The cold storage industry has seen a 19% increase in energy efficiency, beating the target set by the UK government under its Climate Change Agreement.

Official figures released by the UK Environment Agency show that cold storage operators participating in the UK’s voluntary cold storage Climate Change Agreement (CCA) scheme improved their relative energy efficiency by 19.2% between the scheme’s base year (2008) and 2019-2020. This greatly exceeds the 11.7% target set by government for the industry for this phase of the cold storage Climate Change Agreement and relates to a collective saving of 150,670 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the period.

The Cold Chain Federation (CCF), which administers the cold storage CCA, says the results are “a positive sign” coming shortly before the government decides whether the use of energy efficiency targets and related tax incentives will play a role in the next phase of industrial decarbonisation and the path to net zero.

“The UK’s safe and resilient cold storage facilities are not only an important force for climate good in the services they provide, but our industry can also be proud of the great strides it is making in the energy efficiency of its own operations through this highly successful voluntary scheme,” said Cold Chain Federation chief executive Shane Brennan.  

“At the sector level, the facilities signed up to their agreement have over performed against target at every stage since the current scheme opened in 2013, and cold storage facilities across the UK have been working hard and investing in energy efficient equipment and practices with impressive results.”

Tax benefits

The Climate Change Agreement scheme operates across multiple industries, offering tax benefits to businesses which agree to energy efficiency targets. Last week the Environment Agency announced that the Climate Change Agreement scheme delivered a collective reduction in emissions of 6.6MtCO2e during 2019 and 2020, which is an emissions reduction of 13.3% across the 8,705 facilities signed up to the scheme overall. Between 2013 and 2020, the CCA scheme has seen total emissions savings of 23.8MtCO2e.

The Cold Chain Federation estimates that the success of the scheme is worth more than £10m each year collectively for the businesses participating through reductions in Climate Change Levy payments. In addition, businesses benefit from reductions in energy costs due to energy efficiency measures incentivised by the Climate Change Agreement scheme. 

“This new data shows how effective the scheme is in encouraging businesses to make crucial long-term changes to reduce carbon emissions. As more and more cold storage facilities move beyond the low hanging fruit for energy efficiency, achieving the same kind of carbon reductions is becoming more challenging and requiring greater investment,” Brennan added.

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