An inefficient Bill

21st June 2012


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Energy ,
  • Management/saving

Author

IEMA

Following the publication of the draft Energy Bill, Paul Suff asks what happened to the government's pledge to improve energy efficiency across the UK?

The draft Energy Bill has not provided all the answers many were hoping for; potential investors will have to wait a little longer for the kind of certainty they require before deciding whether to contribute to the £110 billion needed to update and, in part, decarbonise UK electricity generation.

But, while the Bill was short on detail in some areas, one issue was almost completely ignored. There is just one reference to the need for energy efficiency in the 307-page document, and that only refers to the Green Deal and the roll-out of smart meters.

It’s not clear, as WWF points out, whether the planned reform of the electricity market will include incentives to improve efficiency, so encouraging people and organisations to reduce demand. Or, as the Chemical Industries Association notes, if energy-efficient technologies, such as combined heat and power generation, will be given financial support alongside nuclear and carbon capture and storage.

Given that one-fifth of existing generating capacity is due to close over the next decade, the government needs to create the conditions quickly for a secure and, hopefully, decarbonised electricity supply. But lowering demand should also feature highly in the reform of the market. As the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) pointed out in 2009, reducing energy consumption plays a key role in any energy-secure, low-carbon future.

The three main aims for the Bill are security of supply, sufficient investment in low-carbon technologies, and generating maximum benefits from minimal cost. UKERC reported that energy efficiency could reduce the costs of decarbonising the UK’s power sector by up to £70 billion by 2050. And most experts would acknowledge that the fastest and cheapest way to bring down carbon emissions is by ramping up energy efficiency.

Given the absence of energy efficiency from the draft Energy Bill, much is now riding on the Green Deal to help reduce electricity demand. That might be a big ask, as there is mounting concern that widespread take-up of the scheme is unlikely to materialise.


Transform articles

Regulator publishes new code to tackle 'greenwashing'

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a new 'Green Claims Code' to ensure businesses are not misleading consumers about their environmental credentials.

22nd September 2021

Read more

The Better Business Act would put responsibility to society and the environment on the same footing as responsibility to shareholders, explains Chris Turner

30th July 2021

Read more

In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

30th July 2021

Read more

Thames Water has been fined £4m after untreated sewage escaped from sewers below London into a park and a river.

30th July 2021

Read more

In R. (on the application of Hudson) v Windsor and Maidenhead RBC, the appellant appealed against a decision to uphold the local authority’s grant of planning permission for the construction of a holiday village at the Legoland Windsor Resort.

28th May 2021

Read more

Are voluntary commitments enough to make the private sector act on waste? David Burrows explores the issues

28th May 2021

Read more

EIA screening should be comprehensive, says Paul Stookes.

6th December 2010

Read more

Civil sanctions make the punishment fit the crime, says Richard Kimblin.

6th September 2010

Read more

The UK's largest water company has been fined twice in seven days for polluting waterways in Berkshire and East Hampshire with sewage.

20th December 2011

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert