EnerGy Efficiency As an InfrastrucTure priority

Why should we have energy efficiency as an infrastructure priority?

As it has these benefits:

What progress has been made in the last year?

In its 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the UK government made a firm commitment to keeping energy costs in British homes and businesses down, by pledging to bring all homes up to a higher efficiency standard (EPC Band C) by 2035. What matters now is that the government puts the energy and investment into meeting this and other pledges.

Since the EEIG’s campaign launch in 2017 positive changes have been announced by UK policy makers. Scotland already has an energy efficiency infrastructure programme, whilst in Whitehall:

The government CGS has pledged to bring all homes up to EPC C by 2035 and all fuel poor homes to C by 2030

The Clean Growth Strategy pledged to bring all homes up to energy performance certificate standard C by 2035 and to bring all fuel poor homes (those homes in drastic need of change and where people are less able to cope with energy bills) to an EPC C standard by 2030.

Government/No 10 pledge to halve energy use in new buildings by 2030

More recently, the UK Prime Minister announced that government would halve energy use in all buildings by 2030 https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3032709/pm-pledges-aims-to-halve-building-energy-use-by-2030.

NIC has made energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority and its first NIA has asked for 21,000 insulation measures a week by 2020 – a six fold increase

The National Infrastructure Commission - the independent body looking at where priority government infrastructure spending should be placed in the next twenty years – has now:

  • said that energy efficiency should be an infrastructure priority
  • in its latest National Infrastructure Assessment said that 21000 insulation measures a week should be carried out on homes in the UK (a six fold increase on current levels)
  • asked government for allocation of at least £3.8 billion between now and 2030 to deliver energy efficiency improvements in social housing.

Green Finance Taskforce incentives

The Green Finance Taskforce made strong recommendations to Government to enable the retail finance sector to mainstream the financing of home energy efficiency improvements, including:

  • financial incentives for meeting EPC C 2035 target on all buildings
  • and suggesting a Capital Infrastructure Plan for government for objectives such as Energy Efficiency

Cross-party consensus

Politicians from all parties are beginning to understand the urgency of action on energy efficiency in homes. For the first time in six years, a debate in Parliament was held on the need for the government to improve its energy efficiency measures, and cross-party consensus was reached for the need to make energy efficiency infrastructure investment a priority.

CCC says energy efficiency must be tackled effectively in the next decade

The Committee on Climate Change (the independent body that advise the government on how to most cost effectively meet its climate change goals) has said that it is one of the most important areas to tackle in the next decade – “an open goal” - if the UK is to hope to reach its climate targets.

What else needs to be done?

Progress has been positive, but it is still insufficient, and more pressure needs to be put on government and politicians to act on this issue.

There is still a significant policy and investment gap that needs to be addressed:

  • £5.2bn annual investment from public and private sources is needed to achieve this ambition.
  • In 2017/18 public investment was £0.7bn, drawing in little to no private investment.
  • This leaves an annual investment gap for the 2035 ambition of £4.5bn. 
  • So £1bn a year further government investment is needed (totalling £1.7bn) which would leverage £3.5bn of private investment.

The Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review will begin in Spring 2019 and will determine Whitehall departmental budgets for the next five years. As a crucial cross-cutting issue, energy efficiency must not fall through. The UK is still far behind other leading European countries on tackling energy efficiency. The graphic below makes the comparison:

So what investment is required to get energy efficiency policy on track and for better, cheaper healthier homes?

GOVERNMENT 2035 AMBITION IS GOOD: TO IMPROVE ALL HOMES TO ENERGY RATING OF ‘C’; BUT THERE IS A LARGE POLICY & INVESTMENT GAP TO ACHIEVE THIS

What have the benefits been on energy and what could they be?

The infographic below shows the huge saving already made and the massive potential for future efficiency savings, meaning lower energy bills and healthier homes.

What does the UK need to do?

Economists Frontier Economics last year carried out a detailed independent report “Affordable Warmth, Clean Growth” that set out the measures that needed to be undertaken for a comprehensive infrastructure programme. The programme contains six steps:

Is the UK capable of making the changes?

The graphic below shows the UK is actually particularly well suited to developing an energy efficiency programme that will create growth and jobs:

What other benefits are there?

The infographic below shows that one of the enormous benefits of a comprehensive energy efficiency programme will be reducing national energy consumption and thus huge costs to British consumers: