Large engineering firms are facing up to the task of tackling carbon emissions this week after the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme came into force on 1 April.
Around 5,000 UK firms that consumed at least 6,000MWh of electricity during 2008 must take part and buy carbon allowances.
A further 15,000 private and public organisations with a halfhourly electricity meter must register under the scheme before 30 September. Those failing to do so will face a financial penalty.
“If you are one of the 5,000 you will need to start monitoring electricity, gas and other fuel use. By July next year you need to report it,” said Environment Agency head of climate change and sustainable development Tony Grayling.
The scheme will be phased in over three years, with no trading in the first year, which Grayling said will be “purely a registering and recording year”.
“Everyone is going to be looking at how their peers are performing in the league table”
Tony Grayling, Environment Agency
Allowances will cost £12 per tonne until 2014 when they will be sold by auction and the price will likely rise. Participating organisations will buy and trade carbon allowances and be ranked by their performance in an annual league table.
Revenue raised from selling allowances will be redistributed to participants according to their league table position.
“Everyone is going to be looking at how their peers are performing,” said Grayling.
Britain’s biggest fee earning consultant Atkins has already registered and put emissions reducing measures underway.
“Because we’ve started to measure better we can begin to quantify data,” said quality, health and safety and environment director Richard Hulland.
Energy used by transport vehicles does not count under the CRC, but stationary construction plant does. The scheme is the first of its kind in the world.