Energy efficiency “number one priority” argues survey of energy professionals

Energy efficiency is the number one priority for policies and investment, according to a survey of energy professionals from the Energy Institute (EI).

Half of respondents to the EI’s 2017 Energy Barometer survey believe that policies in energy efficiency had a positive effect in 2016, 64 per cent rating it as “key to seizing the economic advantages of the shift to low carbon.”

The study has also found that energy policy needs strengthening in the opinion of industry experts, with over half of those surveyed stating that policies in this area have had no effect or a negative effect over the year.

The study emphasises the need for the government to deliver a flexible, decentralised, integrated energy system and to reduce emissions from heat through energy efficiency improvements, as well as developing low carbon heat sources.

EI President Professor Jim Skea CBE FEI believes that the call for a predictable, no-surprises policy environment is reinforced by the 2017 Energy Barometer, with clear advice to those negotiating Brexit.

“Workforce availability and the smooth transition of energy and climate change laws need to be priorities,” he said.

“The Barometer also reflects the need for ministers to bring forward a credible Clean Growth Plan to demonstrate how they intend to course-correct the UK’s emission reduction efforts. On the basis of current policies, the fifth carbon budget is seen by energy professionals as elusive.”

In relation to Brexit, the majority of respondents want the Government to transfer key EU energy and climate change directives into UK law, including on renewables, energy performance of buildings, vehicle emissions and civil nuclear.

Moreover, 60 per cent of experts argue that if freedom of movement were curtailed there will be a fall in the availability of skilled workers, in response to which 70 per cent say the Government must pursue apprenticeship and training measures to meet the shortfall.

Just under 80 per cent respondents believe the UK will fall short of meeting the fifth carbon budget, which requires emissions to be 57 per cent lower than 1990 levels by 2030.

Furthermore, almost a quarter agree that President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change represents a significant threat to achieving the 2C global warming target. However the majority of those surveyed believe it is surmountable if US action continues at state level and federal support is reinstated under a future administration.

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