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Energy efficiency drive could save equivalent of 22 power stations, says Government

Energy-saving plans outlined in a new Government strategy document could save the equivalent of 22 power stations worth of energy by 2020, the Government has claimed.13 Nov 2012

The Government's plans are aimed at changing the way energy is used in housing, transport and manufacturing, Among the measures outlined in the strategy (30-page / 1MB PDF) are a trial product-labelling scheme with John Lewis and a nationwide financing programme which will enable public sector organisations to retrofit energy efficiency measures, such as insulation or building fabric improvements, to their properties.

Funding of £39 million will be made available to set up five End Use Energy Demand Centres, led by leading universities and funded by Research Councils UK and project partners, which will look at what drives business and energy demand and how to change future behaviour.

The EU Energy Efficiency Directive, which must be transposed into national laws and fully implemented by spring 2014, imposes various measures on  EU member states to reduce their primary energy consumption by 20% of their 2007 business as usual projections by 2020. Further consultations to guide the implementation of the Directive in the UK will be published by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shortly.

Energy Minister Greg Barker said that the strategy put energy efficiency "at the very heart of the Government's energy policy".

"Using energy more wisely is absolutely vital in a world of increased pressure on resources and rising prices," he said. "Not only can energy efficiency help save money on bills and cut emissions, it can support green jobs, innovation and enterprise. This is Britain's first comprehensive Energy Efficiency Strategy and sets out the action we are taking now, as well as what we will do in future to ensure the UK continues to be a global leader in reducing energy use."

The document follows a call for evidence, announced by the DECC in February. It highlights energy efficiency potential in various sectors, the benefits of achieving it and barriers to uptake. Although UK commercial and industrial sectors "lead the world" in many cases, according to the document, there is still "huge potential" for improving energy efficiency. The Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) has also published three Technology Innovation Needs Assessments (TINAs) which highlight the need for innovation in energy efficiency at household, commercial and industrial levels.

Increasing the uptake of energy efficiency measures will create jobs and boost economic growth, as well as helping households and businesses save money and the UK achieve its climate change goals, according to the Government. The UK energy efficiency sector already accounts for around 136,000 jobs and had sales of £17.6 billion in 2010/11, an amount which has increased by over 4% per year since 2007/08. While these are the latest figures available, the report predicts that sales will grow by around 5% per year between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said in the foreword to the strategy document that it "presents a huge business opportunity, including a chance for British companies to develop expertise which can be exported to overseas markets."In February, Davey used his first speech as Energy Secretary to unveil plans to set up a new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) within the DECC to help deliver the Green Deal and other energy-saving policies. The EEDO has already carried out a number of research projects on both domestic and non-domestic energy use, which it has published in support of the Energy Efficiency Strategy.

DECC has also published new guidance (21-page / 4.7MB PDF) aimed at helping public sector organisations find the money to fund energy efficiency projects. The guidance, prepared in collaboration with local government and Treasury joint venture Local Partnerships, sets out some of the options for funding energy efficiency improvements as well as examples of successful public sector projects.

The Government is to fund a nationwide rollout of RE:FIT, an award-winning London-based public sector energy efficiency funding programme, and is working with ENWORKS in the North West to understand how best to finance and upgrade to more energy efficient equipment in commercial and manufacturing businesses.