Energy efficiency focus for 2017
- Management/saving ,
- Business & Industry
Energy-efficiency measures boosted the UK economy by £1.7bn between 2010 and 2015 but the government needs to do more to generate further savings, according to new analysis.
The 2016 UK Energy Productivity Audit, published jointly by nine organisations, including the Association for Decentralised Energy, the Energy Institute and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, found that the industrial, services and domestic sectors saved enough energy to heat 13 million homes over the five-year period.
However, business and domestic consumers still spent £140bn on energy in 2015, equivalent to 7.6% of the UK economy. The audit said the efficiency of electricity supply had remained broadly unchanged, improving only 2% since 2010. It also found the UK lagged many of its European peers on developing energy-efficiency policies.
The group called on the Department for Business, Energy and Industry to address the policy gap and prioritise helping businesses to make energy productivity investments and improvements as part of its new industrial strategy.
Improving energy efficiency is a key objective of the industrial strategy published for consultation at the start of January by the Labour Party. It states: ‘It is imperative that we refashion our economy so that it alleviates rather than exacerbates the mounting global climate crisis, with a just transition to reduced energy consumption, a balanced energy policy, and meeting our commitments under the Paris agreement.’
Meanwhile, Zero Waste Scotland has found that organisations in the country could save £2.9bn a year by using energy, water and raw materials more efficiently. Its research revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises waste around £19,000 on average each year that could have been avoided by improving energy efficiency.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.
The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.