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.
18th January 2017