Renewables pushing energy efficiency out of the debate?

There has been a huge focus on the renewables industry which has pushed energy efficiency out of the debate. That’s the view of Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Carbon Control, […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

There has been a huge focus on the renewables industry which has pushed energy efficiency out of the debate.

That’s the view of Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Carbon Control, who believes energy efficiency is still “undervalued and under realised” in the UK.

His comments come as the green energy sector has received a lot of attention following cuts to onshore wind and solar support.

Mr Fletcher told ELN: “For a number of years now energy efficiency has been the poor relation. There’s been a massive focus and obviously investment by government to effectively stimulate the renewable energy sector within the UK. I think it’s widely recognised the level of subsidies have historically been too generous. As a result of that now, cuts have had to be almost too severe in order to balance the books.

“The consequence of that has been that many organisations have seen a more compelling business case based upon subsidies they can receive from government to invest in renewables than to address even simpler and more cost effective opportunities associated with improving energy efficiency across their business.”

He believes energy efficiency holds “immense potential” to help businesses and network generators reduce the amount of power consumed.

“Yet subsidies that government policy focuses on tend to pass this area by,” Mr Fletcher said.

He added government must provide “clear guidance” and incentives to invest in energy efficiency as although it offers a compelling payback period or return on investment, the upfront costs would be an issue for some.

He told ELN: “By incentivising businesses, history has shown that people will act accordingly. Things such as subsidies for renewable energy: those have been very successful in stimulating the energy market in the UK and lots of businesses have been motivated by the cost savings as much as they have by the environmental benefits.”

However he added: “There is astonishingly still a lot of ignorance within businesses in terms of understanding the composition of their energy bills; namely multiple time of use charges and layers of ‘green taxes’ associated with energy but equally the impact in terms of cost reduction that is delivered by reducing their energy consumption by modest amounts.”

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