Energy efficiency must be priority say energy professionals
Annual Energy Institute survey of members places energy efficiency at the top of energy priorities for UK government, who must retain existing EU energy and climate laws following last year’s Brexit vote
Report from – Damien Carr
Green retrofit (Image: Energiesprong UK)
Political risk must not undermine the need for reliable energy that keeps emissions and prices down was the message from 938 energy professionals surveyed for the Energy Institute’s (EI) 2017 Energy Barometer.
This year's Barometer, carried out by the professional body for the energy industry, is the first to take on board recent political upheavals and manages to gauge key concerns facing those working in the industry. Among these is access to skilled workforce following the vote to leave the EU, along with a commitment on energy policy during Brexit negotiations.
The survey found that 60% of respondents anticipated a fall in the availability of skilled workers, with 70% saying the government should invest in apprenticeships and training to meet the shortfall. Meanwhile, the majority of respondents wanted the country to retain existing EU energy and climate laws, including those covering renewables, energy performance of buildings.
However, respondents believed that energy efficiency should be the top priority for government in lowering emissions for the lowest cost in investment. Around half believed that policy in this area had a positive effect in 2016 but that policy still needs to be strengthened. Over half (64%) of respondents believe it is key to the shift to low carbon, which the EI said reflects the wider engineering profession’s response to the BEIS Industrial Strategy green paper.
“The stakes are high for the UK’s energy economy,” said EI Vice President and former National Grid CEO Steve Holliday, who warned that policy making should not be lost in Brexit negotiations and the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
“Energy professionals’ advice could not be stronger on putting energy efficiency at the heart of the Government’s strategy. The benefits of energy efficiency stack up for emission reduction, energy security, industrial growth and affordability,” he said.