Britain could learn from Japan’s response to Fukushima to deal with energy crisis

Behavioural change in energy demand could offset some of the pressure of soaring gas prices, MPs told

Big Zero Report 2022

The UK could learn from the lessons of the past, including Japan’s response to Fukushima to inform decisions made to deal with soaring global gas prices after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking during a session of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Michael Bradshaw Professor of Global Energy at Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick said: “If you look at the IEA’s ten-point plan (which included ways to reduce countries’ reliance on Russian gas) that came out last week and one of the things it talked about was turning the thermostat down by 1°.

“I think there is a bigger issue here and that is most of us are not running our households in a very energy efficient manner.

“We tend not to get our boilers serviced until breakdown occurs until it is too late, so they are not running efficiently.

“We do need to think ways of building resilience going to next winter where people can make adjustments, they will, more importantly, understand how their heating systems work and what measures they can take to turn them down and save money.

“Because those small marginal savings across millions of households in the UK that use natural gas for heating, that can add up.

“I do think the energy crisis in the 1970s there were all sorts of campaigns to save energy. Electricity and gas prices are likely to be very high next winter, so we need to learn the lessons from the past.

“Perhaps we need to look also at Japan’s experience with Fukushima where the behavioural change was able to manage a reduction in demand. So it’s not just about how we secure our supply, is also how we improve our efficiency to reduce demand in the short-term.”

In case you missed it, listen again to what Professor Bradshaw told ELN last week about the impact of the Russian invasion on international energy markets.

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