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.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

UK government accused of attempting to relax sewage rules ‘through the backdoor’

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Digital tracking, packaging data delays and new collections provide a waste focus for this edition’s environmental round-up by legislation expert Neil Howe

28th November 2023

Read more

Environmental crimes could result in prison sentences of up to 10 years and company fines of 5% of turnover under a proposed EU law agreed by the European parliament and council.

21st November 2023

Read more

Stuart McLachlan and Dean Sanders discuss their book: The Adventure of Sustainable Performance: Beyond ESG Compliance to Leadership in the New Era.

14th November 2023

Read more

From government compromises on retained EU law, to disposable vapes, Neil Howe provides an update on the ever-evolving world of environmental legislation

3rd August 2023

Read more

Litigation is becoming a key tool for delivering climate justice and action, with the number of court cases more than doubling worldwide in just five years, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has found.

27th July 2023

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close