As we approach 2018, what key trends in energy efficiency are closing out the year?

Energy Live News is reporting that a new energy and carbon reporting framework would be supported by 87% of decision makers in British businesses.

The news comes from npower Business Solutions, whose research shows UK stakeholders believe new frameworks could drive a nationwide reduction in energy use, bills and carbon emissions.

According to Energy Live News, the survey of 500 senior figures suggests reduced energy costs would be the biggest benefit from a change in reporting frameworks (58%), followed by increased energy efficiency (54%) and reduced bureaucracy (45%).

The intriguing industry sentiment comes in response to the Government’s October 2017 Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting Consultation, which will run until January 4 2018.

Its purpose is to seek views on how to replace the reporting element of the Carbon Reduction Commitment, which will be abolished after the 2018/19 compliance year.

“The reform package has been put in place to cut down administration burdens and raise energy efficiency awareness for UK PLC,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“In our organisation, as experts on energy efficiency, we are aware of the fact that reporting can be burdensome, but it’s also incredibly valuable.

“It can drive internal change, behavioural change, and take energy efficiency right up the boardroom priority list. We urge every UK company to make it their business to look at the consultation.

“If we can start off 2018 in the right way, with a fantastic new framework that delivers more and more energy efficiency throughout the year; that will be an amazing Christmas present.”

Gas vs energy efficiency

Elsewhere, Carbon Brief has analysed whether gas, which accounts for more than a third of UK emissions, can continue to play a role in the provision of energy, given the UK’s current climate ambitions.

Its research, released on December 5, cites recent analysis by the Tyndall Centre which suggests the role of gas will be extremely limited, due to the small remaining carbon budget.

Alternatively, Carbon Brief finds that energy efficiency remains a more attractive option for achieving long term carbon mitigation and business opportunities in the UK.

Its research explains; ‘While gas displaces some coal initially (prior to 2020), as is currently being observed in the UK’s electricity generation sector, the modelling points to a cost-effective pathway where new investment is focused on renewables and in energy efficiency measures.’

“We’re pleased to see more evidence that energy efficiency is the best option for mitigating carbon and delivering futureproof, responsive UK businesses,” says Cox.

“Many in the sector know and understand that the energy you don’t use is always cheaper and greener than any fossil fuel, even one which acts as a ‘bridge’ to help kick the UK’s historic fossil fuel addiction.

“We advocate; get energy efficiency to the top of the pile now, and let’s not pretend that fossils represent more than a transitory option at best.”

Energys wishes all our friends and partners a Happy Christmas, and we look forward to keeping you up to date with the sector throughout 2018.

Was 2017 finally the breakthrough year for low carbon and energy efficiency?

By any estimation, the sector has received some significant boosts this year.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, the Government made a solid commitment to lead the world in cost effective clean growth, setting out, in clear terms, a blueprint for Britain’s low carbon future.

That wasn’t all. Shortly afterwards The Industrial Strategy gave encouraging signs for low carbon, offering up measures to help large businesses cut energy use and bills.

Some of the headline promises included £2.5 billion to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, up to £10 million for innovations that improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, and an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills.

Such themes been in the background for years, but politically, in 2017 they finally found their way into solid policy.

So today we ask; if 2017 started the breakthrough, what do we need in coming years to make low carbon ever more real on the ground in the UK?

Is this the beginning of the end for fossil energy and the old status quo?

“At Energys, we feel that there are hints 2017’s policy declarations do indeed signal a turning point in the UK’s evolution towards low carbon,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“It is very important to remember that not long ago, a great many commentators were forecasting major issues for the UK’s environment policy, claiming that with Brexit in the headlights, there was nothing to stop us slipping back to a fossil based agenda.

“It is very clear that while there is always more to do, this has not happened. Indeed major policy documents have taken us far in the opposite direction; towards energy efficiency, low carbon, electric vehicles and major alterations to our electricity network.”

Yet, amid all this positivity, work remains to be done.

Policy vs reality

In environmental spheres, policy leads real world change. But policy alone is not a panacea; cash, while welcome, is not the sole solution.

One element that hints at real meaning behind the top level promises and strategic direction, is the appointment of an independent Industrial Strategy Council, planned for next year, to hold Ministers to account over progress.

When we look back on historic environmental promises, often the truth is that the money went to the wrong places, too slowly; that the funds established were misdirected.

The Council must ensure this doesn’t happen, and that the cash set aside for energy efficiency and low carbon reaches the places it can work best.

Moreover, as Brexit beckons, we must be aware of the UK’s challenging growth forecasts and give close attention to our burgeoning low carbon industry even while negotiating our exit from the EU.

The final word

All in all, the future for low carbon is not necessarily less challenging than prior to 2017’s policy moves.

But there is now room for hope and opportunity. There is a real sense that there is no turning back from this point, and that a lower carbon UK is unequivocally where we are firmly headed.

For this, we must be grateful. Let’s enter 2018 bursting with positivity, ready to do the hard work to back up the promising lead Government Ministers have delivered.

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