The Government must prioritise energy efficiency in its forthcoming energy strategy, which is expected later this week, said Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL), a London-headquartered international investment firm.
Jonathan Maxwell, CEO and founder of SDCL, which has invested over $2 billion in energy efficiency projects internationally, said:
“This long-anticipated energy strategy must focus not just on how we produce energy, but also how we use it. Most of the public will be shocked to learn that we waste two-thirds of the world’s energy.
“Increasing energy efficiency has a huge role to play in cutting carbon and lowering costs, as well as increasing our energy security, but it often gets less attention than it deserves. This must change.
“The International Energy Agency has already pointed to energy efficiency measures in buildings and industry as a way of reducing reliance on imported gas.
“In particular, energy efficiency measures can be introduced rapidly to deliver immediate benefits. This is a real advantage now, and especially when renewable energy sources can take years to develop. Although we absolutely need investment in renewable energy, we need to improve energy efficiency as an absolute priority, too.
“Measures such as on-site energy generation using solar panels, or combined heat and power systems, which use the heat created in electricity generation to warm buildings, have vital roles to play, and must be encouraged.
“Furthermore, energy efficiency measures quickly pay for themselves in terms of the cost savings they deliver, and then go on to produce further savings. There is an investment case, an environmental case and a national security case for putting energy efficiency front and centre of the Government’s strategy. We hope these will be reflected in its plans.”
In early March, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a 10-point plan for the European Union to reduce reliance on imported supplies. Among other measures, it said an acceleration of energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industry, which the IEA estimated would reduce gas use by close to 2 billion cubic metres within a year in Europe. SDCL believes proportionate savings would be similarly available in the UK.