Efficiency major contributor to reduction in UK energy demand

Signal of change / Efficiency major contributor to reduction in UK energy demand

By Anna Simpson / 12 Mar 2019

Carbon Brief has released analysis of government figures finding that efficiency in light bulbs and household appliances such as fridges have contributed marginally more to ongoing reductions in the UK's energy demand than the switch to renewables and gas.  

 

The UK's per capita electricity generation in 2018 was 16% lower than in 2005, despite a population increase of 10% over that period. This reduction in use has saved 103 terawatt hours (TWh) over that period, according to Carbon Brief: slightly more than the 95TWh increase in renewables output. 

 

BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin links these wins to EU product standards on light bulbs, fridges, vacuum cleaners and other appliances.

 

 

So what?

Efficiency is often looked over as the less exciting - and also less controversial - solution to decarbonisation than the rise of renewables. However, these figures seemingly minor changes in products and behaviours can have a significant impact when multiplied across a nation.    EU regulation has played a part in scaling efficient appliances in the UK, while businesses and citizens have been quick to recognise the return on investment through lower energy bills.   UK electricity demand is projected to rise in order to meet climate targets through electrification. Government projections suggest as much as 25% of the UK's electricity could be imported by 2025. Ongoing efficiency gains therefore have a role to play in the UK's energy security.    What would the impacts of leaving the EU be on the UK's energy efficiency? Can the government do more to incentivise it?     

Sources

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-electricity-generation-2018-falls-to-lowest-since-1994    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46741346     

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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