While a shift to renewables in the power sector will remain important, the Green Alliance has called for focus to shift to reducing energy demand across the economy.
Released on 30 January, Balancing the energy equation: Three steps to cutting UK demand, based on research from the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), identified three key steps for government to take to energy demand reduction: reducing energy demand; improving technical energy efficiency; and flex energy demand.
The report then examined how the three steps could be applied to the highest emitting sectors across the economy, beginning with transport. The top priority, it said, should be reducing the need to own and drive cars. Facilitating shared mobility, walking and cycling, along with improving public transport, were suggested as solutions, while it was also recommended transport and planning objectives are aligned to avoid the need to make so many journeys.
On buildings, the report stressed the poor energy efficiency of much of the UK’s existing building stock needs “urgent attention”. Real world performance data – achieved through a £1bn per year upgrade programme to 2035 – was cited as the solution, with it recommended that low income households are targeted along with new incentives for those able to pay. With regards to industry, the report championed resource efficiency, claiming that there was great untapped potential to cut energy use to be had from making longer lasting, repairable items. This would bring down demand for products and promote resource efficient industrial processes.