The fight to tackle climate change in the United Kingdom continues apace, but recent good news shows that household energy bills have actually decreased alongside efforts which have successfully reduced the country’s emissions, according to a new study from the country’s climate advisory body.
The new report was published this week by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), and showed that any costs that may be attributed to efforts to tackle climate change have more than been accounted for by savings made through increased energy efficiency and reduced energy demand. Specifically, the report showed that low-carbon electricity system growth added around £9 a month to a typical UK household energy bill, but was overshadowed by a £20 cut to monthly energy bills, created primarily through the use of more efficient lights and appliances.
“Action to deliver a cleaner, more efficient energy system is already delivering benefits for households and businesses,” said the Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, CCC Chairman.
“UK emissions are falling — down 38% from 1990 to 2015 — while GDP has risen by almost 65% in the same period. Meanwhile, the typical household energy bill has fallen in real terms since 2012. The UK’s progress to reduce emissions, and its comparative advantage in important areas such as the automotive sector, offer opportunities for future growth and employment while delivering vital action to tackle climate change.”
Household energy bills in 2016 were actually below those in 2008, even though there were higher electricity prices from low-carbon policies and network costs. As mentioned, however, energy efficiency improvements offset these higher costs. In 2016, the average home energy bill (for an average UK dual-fuel household) was £1,160. This was around £115 lower in real terms since the Climate Change Act was passed in 2008. Currently, low-carbon policies have resulted in around £105 (9%) of the 2016 energy bill resulting from the country’s shift to low-carbon energy sources — a figure which is expected to increase by a further £85-120 annually by 2030.
However, the report also concluded that “Households could more than offset this bill impact from energy efficiency improvements between 2016 and 2030,” which the CCC claims could see savings of as much as £150 on average if prices remain at their current levels — primarily attributable to energy efficiency improvements in replacing appliances, lights, and boilers.
The report also highlighted the larger impacts low-carbon energy sources are having on the UK, including the benefits being provided to the economy by growing new industries, and by providing insurance to consumers from fluctuating fossil fuel prices.
“This report highlights the fact that the UK’s low-carbon sector is growing faster than the rest of the economy, already employing hundreds of thousands of people and contributing 2-3% of GDP, which is comparable in size to energy-intensive manufacturing,” said Emma Pinchbeck, the Executive Director of RenewableUK, the country’s trade body for wind and marine energy sources. “With Government looking to invest in industries of the future through the Industrial Strategy, the CCC’s findings clearly demonstrate that wind and marine energy should be priorities.”
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