Monday 25 July 2016

Back in 2010 I was part of a small group asked by Greg Barker, then Minister of State at DECC to “give me five things I can do on energy efficiency”*. Well now that we have a new government and a new department it is time to refresh those five things for the new world we find ourselves in. Since 2010 we have learnt a lot about energy efficiency and how to accelerate investment into it although the reality has yet to catch up with the potential. So here are my five things for Greg Clark.

1. The incorporation of energy into DBEIS is a perfect opportunity to change the narrative around energy and energy efficiency to one of energy productivity. As I have argued in previous blogs energy productivity is a powerful organizing theme for energy policy. It is also really hard to argue against improving productivity, and energy productivity focuses attention on both retrofit and ensuring new infrastructure is as efficient as possible. We know there is a need to improve productivity generally and energy productivity should be one element of that. We need to join the growing list of countries that have set energy productivity targets and establish a clear energy productivity target.

2. Start an independent energy modelling unit that produces demand-side driven models rather than supply-side driven models. Amazingly the UK has never really had this capability in government.

3. Simplify the complex world of business energy tax and reporting in order to free up energy managers time to develop projects.

4. Promote the use of third party investment into energy efficiency by developing a large-scale programme within the government estate. This requires creating a framework approach that brings development capital, implementation capital, a totally standardized approach to developing efficiency projects (see the Investor Confidence Project), and standardized (and public) reporting of results.

5. Move all energy efficiency programmes towards a pay for performance model in which we pay for real measured results and not for stuff. This means using advanced measurement and verification technologies to measure savings against dynamic baselines. Doing this will move us away from the forty year old paradigm that energy efficiency has to be some top down mandated programme and towards a real market where energy efficiency is as reliable as energy supply and can be priced and financed properly.

If I can get away with three other key points; firstly start talking much more about the non-energy benefits of energy efficiency which are usually much more interesting and strategic than energy cost savings, make improving energy productivity a national infrastructure priority and finally pull the plug on Hinkley Point.

By the way I was surprised to hear that DECC officials moved immediately. If only everything in government ran as quickly as the removal/arrival of PMs from Number 10 and the movement of civil servants from one building to another.

* If you want to review the five recommendations see Energy World February 2013


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Dr Steven Fawkes

Welcome to my blog on energy efficiency and energy efficiency financing. The first question people ask is why my blog is called 'only eleven percent' - the answer is here. I look forward to engaging with you!

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