The UK could avoid 40 percent of electricity demand and save in excess of £10 billion per year if amendments are made to the upcoming Energy Bill by incentivising energy efficiency and creating a ‘market’ for electricity savings.
These are the findings from a new report published Tuesday by the Green Alliance and WWF-UK (PDF) that highlights research commissioned by the Government which found that effective measures to reduce electricity could result in huge savings for the consumer and the environment.
The potential savings currently available to the UK over the next seventeen years add up to the equivalent of 15 nuclear power plants.
Sadly, the draft Energy Bill currently contains nothing to plug the existing gap in the UK energy sector. Rather, it puts in place policies that pay for new low-carbon supply and contains no potential for reducing electricity demand.
“The Coalition can show it cares about hard pressed families by making sure the energy system rewards energy saving as much as energy production,” said Green Alliance’s director, Matthew Spencer.
“An electricity efficiency feed-in tariff is the simplest way of doing this, and evidence from the USA suggests that it will incentivise a wave of new energy saving amongst business and households. The Energy Bill offers the opportunity to support negawatts as well as megawatts, and to do so at a lower cost to the UK economy.”
The report published Tuesday looked at three ways that the government’s Electricity Market Reform could help reduce national electricity demand:
- reform the proposed capacity market to incentivise demand reduction;
- extend the existing energy efficiency obligation so that it requires suppliers to reduce their customers’ electricity demand; and
- introduce a new electricity efficiency feed-in tariff (FiT)
It found that an electricity efficiency feed-in tariff (EE FiT) — a new financial incentive for energy saving — would be the most effective option to save consumers on their energy bills.
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Currently, according to the Green Alliance and WWF-UK, an Energy Bill without it is simply going to reward the building of expensive power stations rather than actively pursue lowest-cost energy efficiency. Their argument is that the Bill must incentivise energy demand reduction rather than allow for high-demand by matching that demand.
“Energy efficiency is the obvious ‘win-win’ in the upcoming reform of our electricity market; keeping a check on rising energy bills while also reducing our dependency on fossil fuels,” said David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK. “Thus far the draft Energy Bill has failed to recognise this gilt-edged opportunity, and energy efficiency is conspicuous only by its absence.
“The Green Alliance/WWF report released today demonstrates that the case for implementing an Electricity Efficiency Feed-in tariff in the Bill is overwhelming. WWF urges Government to ensure that when the Energy Bill is published it includes options to adequately incentivise energy efficiency.”