Better energy efficiency measures could cut UK costs by £7.5bn
6th September 2017 | Commercial Energy
More efficient use of energy in the UK would save as much power as could be generated by six new nuclear reactors and shave £7.5bn from energy costs, experts have calculated.
But to achieve such savings would require substantial changes to government policy because there are few incentives for households to carry out the necessary measures, such as insulation, which can take 20 years to pay for themselves via bill savings.
About a quarter of current energy use in heating and electricity could be cut in a “cost-effective” manner producing savings overall in terms of bills, according to the UK Energy Research Centre. Households would save about £270 a year on bills, and more through less tangible improvements such as healthier lifestyles from warmer homes and better air quality.
A further quarter of current domestic energy use could also be cut – reducing the UK’s domestic energy consumption by half, or as much as could be generated by 12 new nuclear reactors the size of Hinkley Point C – but this would require investment, for instance in solid wall insulation, heat pumps and demand management technology, which would be less likely to be repaid in bill savings within 20 years.
Cutting energy use would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions – which have an effect on climate change – and improve quality of life for many by warming homes and reducing air pollution connected to energy generation.
Profit margins at the six biggest energy suppliers, which control most of the UK market, have risen to record levels, the regulator Ofgem said last month. British Gas announced it was raising its prices by more than 12% on some tariffs over the summer.
Current government policy provides few incentives to households to invest in energy-saving measures since the flagship Green Deal policy, providing loans for such improvements, was axed by the last government.
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