000The Energy Institute (TEI) has produced its 2017 Barometer; analysing the pressure on UK energy efficiency. What’s TEI’s professional verdict on the next 12 months for low carbon?
What are 2017’s key challenges?
Energy policy, the investment environment and the need for energy system change are the main challenges for the energy industry in 2017, as identified by TEI members.
Brexit and wider geopolitics could negatively impact efforts to develop a clear UK energy strategy, to update infrastructure, and to meet demand and climate targets at least cost to end users.
Brexit is a vast concern to the sector. Negotiators must pay heed to energy policy, regulation and trade agreements, energy costs, and security of supply.
Free movement of labour is key, and skilled engineers and workers could be at a premium. Training and apprenticeships could help prevent a shortfall.
Great Repeal regulations should be informed by existing EU legislation, and continued cooperation with the EU is considered desirable.
UK energy policy
Uncertain energy policy is contributing to a risky investment climate, with immature low carbon technologies most affected. Tech readiness and markets are being harmed. Better business and academia links are needed.
Moderate price rises across primary and retail energy markets are coming in 2017, with exchange rates expected to have a greater influence than in previous years.
Transition to low carbon
The UK will likely fall short of its carbon targets through to 2050. Additional support for energy efficiency and renewables could help close the perceived carbon policy gap. That said, wider environmental concerns, falling technology costs, and rising energy costs are making efficiency more attractive.
Future energy will be more flexible and will involve system-level strategies and new business models. Grid updates, energy storage and new tech will change behaviours and shift consumer demand.
Financial incentives, mandatory standards and community engagement are seen as the best measures for reducing emissions.
Overall, decentralisation and new models will drive innovation, with new tech coming to suit the new direction.
TEI professionals expect that decarbonisation of the energy system will be the greatest change they witness over their careers. But it won’t come without its challenges, and its winners and losers.
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