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Energy Efficiency

Published on October 8th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Study: UK GDP Would See Boost Of £62 Billion A Year With Tougher Energy Efficiency Measures

October 8th, 2014 by  

The UK’s economy could receive a significant boost — of up to £62 billion a year, and 40,000 new jobs created — with a 40% cut in energy use by 2030 achieved through tougher energy efficiency measures, according to a recent study.

Even with lower cuts, the economic boost/savings would still be substantial — for example, achieving a 40% cut in energy use would still boost the economy by £17.3 billion and create roughly 13,000 jobs.


These predictions come to us via a study from the independent consultancy Cambridge Econometrics — one which was reportedly suppressed by the EU secretary general’s office in order to not rankle “conservative European states and energy intensive industries.” It’s only coming to light now owing to efforts by WWF to see the report released.

While achieving these energy cuts could have substantial positive impacts, this is easier said than done, in many cases — especially when you factor in politics. But the new study certainly does make a strong case for it being worth the effort.

“The benefits of energy efficiency are impressive and we need to be ambitious,” stated Brook Riley, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth. “GDP gains are three times higher with a 40% reduction target than with 30%. It is significant that the countries which were hardest hit by the financial crisis – Greece, Portugal, Ireland – are among the strongest advocates of going as far as we can.”


The Guardian provides some context:

EU energy and environment ministers are gathering in Milan to discuss energy efficiency targets as part of a broader package of climate and energy goals for 2030 that currently includes boosting renewables to a 27% share of the market and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.

A potentially binding 30% efficiency target has been pencilled in, which Germany and Denmark would like to see raised. The 30% number is opposed by the UK and Poland, however, on grounds of cost and states’ freedom to choose their own energy policy.

The bloc is already committed to a 20% market share for renewables and 20% emissions cut by 2020 – both measured against 1990 levels – and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, against a 2005 projection.

But environmentalists argue that the relatively less ambitious targets for 2030 will make Europe’s goal of 80-95% decarbonisation by 2050 more difficult to reach, especially as the CO2 cut is the only one that would currently be binding on EU states. In that context, energy efficiency targets are seen as a bellwether issue.

When you consider all of the issues/disagreements amongst the member states of the EU as of late, this being just another in a long line, it’s hard to say what will come of this. Or, for that matter, whether or not the EU will even still be around by the year 2030.

Image Credit: Flags by THOR (CC BY 2.0) 
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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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