Energy efficiency is being neglected, but is key to addressing the triple energy crisis, says Energy Institute report
A new survey of energy professionals ranks energy efficiency as the priority response to the energy crisis – but 70% of respondents say current government policy in this area isn’t delivering.
The Energy Institute’s (EI) eighth annual Energy Barometer report outlines the responses of more than 350 energy professionals, surveyed in April, who represent views right across the UK energy sector. This year’s report addresses the current triple crisis facing energy – the escalating prices faced by consumers, energy security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and climate.
Energy efficiency off track
Energy efficiency is ranked by 44% of respondents as the key priority medium – and long-term response to the triple crisis – more than any other option – followed closely by building out renewables. Support is lower for new nuclear and new domestic oil and gas production. Reducing demand is the most popular option for ending imports of Russian oil.
But respondents say demand side is neglected by recent government policy. 70% don’t see existing energy efficiency policies as having any positive effect over the past year. Nine in ten see fuel poverty policy as failing.
The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) in its 2022 Progress Report to the Parliament, concluded that despite the UK Government’s ambitious Net Zero strategy, necessary policies are not yet in place to meet the targets, especially on energy efficiency of buildings and land use. The corresponding monitoring framework shows, of 10 policies related to energy use in buildings, none are on track, or it is too early to say; energy efficiency retrofit is considered significantly off track. The CCC points out that although the Energy Security Strategy recognised energy efficiency as the solution to high energy bills as well as decarbonisation, it failed to address the policy gap in this area.
Commercial action on energy efficiency
The crisis context is, however, influencing survey respondents’ own organisations and their approach to demand reduction. Almost half have introduced new energy efficiency or emission reduction measures over the past year; more than a quarter have reduced energy use due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A separate survey by Deloitte, released in May 2022, showed that the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are driving some progress in the rental sector, with commercial building refurbishment works on the rise. Since April 2018, landlords of non-domestic private rented properties in England and Wales, may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G, and this is set to apply to all existing leases in 2023.