UK slipping down European energy efficiency league

The UK has slipped down Europe’s energy efficiency rankings into middling status, according to a new survey of policies and their implementation in EU countries.

The findings come from detailed analysis of each government’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, required under European law, by the Brussels –based Energy Efficiency Watch. The analysis draws upon interviews with 655 experts drawn from all Member States.

The UK was rated as 15 out of 27 in terms of progress on its energy efficiency policies over the past three years. As to the likelihood of actually fulfilling its declared ambitions, almost half of experts consulted doubted whether these would be realised - ranking the UK 23 out of 27 in terms of likelihood to meet its obligations.

Rates of progress were deemed to be medium to low. Research for the report was concluded just as the Green Deal was launched. However even before it was, its outcome was “uncertain’ and far stronger action is urged particularly on education and training.

The most positive reactions came regarding the Carbon Reduction Commitment, because it reaches many industries frequently excluded from energy-saving programmes. However, the decision to withdraw publication of annual league tables of success between different companies comes in for heavy criticism, as a “wasted opportunity.” Also praised is the linkage of some university funding to effective carbon and energy saving management plans.

Overall, the detailed analysis – the first of its kind – expresses concern at the failure of many governments to adopt any “strategic vision”, with policies often very poorly aligned. Public procurement and the development of energy services were judged as seeing limited or no progress by almost 90 per cent of experts interviewed.

The report recommends that governments aim at achieving at least a 1 per cent a year gain in efficiency (in addition to business-as-usual). It concludes that this is modest compared with the long-established cost-effective potential for around 2 per cent additional energy improvements.

• Adjudged to be best in class in terms of progress are Finland, Denmark and Malta; worst are Slovakia, Italy and the Czech Republic.


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