The Association for Decentralised Energy and the Association for the Conservation of Energy have welcomed the UK government’s Autumn Statement economic paper, which has a focus on improving the country’s productivity.
The ADE’s director, Dr Tim Rotheray says that focus is in line with his organisation’s call to improve the UK’s overall energy productivity, which has been lagging behind other European nations.
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announced a £23 billion Productivity Investment Fund as part of the Autumn Statement.
More than two thirds of the fund has already been assigned to housing, communications, transport and research and development. A further £1.8 billion has been provided for local authorities to make productivity infrastructure investments.
Mr Rotheray said, “Improving energy productivity should be an integral part of both the Productivity Investment Fund and the new money for the Local Growth Fund. The remaining third of the funding that is yet unassigned should be dedicated to seizing the energy productivity opportunity.
“As our 2016 Energy Productivity Audit showed, the UK economy produced £193bn more in goods and services over the past five years using the same amount of energy, supported by energy efficiency investments by the industrial, services and domestic sectors. By making energy part of their productivity ambitions, the Chancellor will only drive further economic success.”
Association for the Conservation of Energy CEO Dr Joanne Wade said: “The evidence clearly shows that investments in energy efficiency deliver impressive productivity results for the UK economy, with our recent energy productivity audit showing the country producing billions of pounds more every year for the same amount of energy.”
The Audit was jointly published last week by a group of nine organisations, including industrial manufacturers and leading environmental groups such as Greenpeace; these organisations united in a shared vision to create a more efficient, competitive, low carbon Britain through a common purpose to cut energy waste.
Led by the Association for Decentralised Energy, the Audit shows that the industrial, services and domestic sectors have saved enough energy to heat 13 million homes and improved productivity to the tune of £1.7 billion for every million tonnes of oil equivalent between 2010 and 2015.
Yet, despite the UK’s energy bill topping a staggering £140 billion in 2015, the equivalent of 7.6% of the economy, the efficiency of electricity supply has remained broadly unchanged, improving only 2 percentage points in the last 5 years.
The ADE added that analysis of government data shows the UK is not on track to meet its 2030 Carbon Budgets, making that failure in an energy efficient context all the more acute. Current renewable energy and energy efficiency policies are only able to take the UK around half way towards the cost effective path to decarbonisation, leaving a significant policy gap.