Thursday 20 February 2014

There have been a few interesting energy articles in the FT, most notably; Consumers see the light over lower energy costs”, by Guy Chazan, which reported that people use nearly a third less electricity to light their homes than they did 16 years ago. Brenda Boardman from the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford said that thanks to more efficient lamps the average amount of electricity needed to light a UK home fell from 720 kWh in 1997 to less than 500 kWh in 2013.  Furthermore peak electricity demand has been falling consistently and average electricity consumption per household dropped 5 % between 2008 and 2012.  This is once again an illustration that energy efficiency is happening – along with the figures reported last year that heating energy consumption per household had gone down.


Given the spread of LED lighting even greater savings are on the horizon, both in households and the non-domestic sector.  Figures reported in the FT said that households could save £1.4 billion per annum by phasing out incandescent lamps and that the UK spends £300 million per annum running 7 million street lights.  Sales of LEDs are rising very quickly in all sectors and wide scale adoption of LEDs in many applications could save billions in running costs – as well as billions in the need to build new supply capacity.


Putting in place the mechanisms and the financing programme to facilitate a mass changeover to LEDs (as the Green Investment Bank is planning for street lighting) would be a much better investment of public money and effort than supporting new nuclear and renewable capacity and should be compared to supply options on an equal footing – price per MWh, emissions, time to build, and co-benefits.


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Dr Steven Fawkes

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