Limited detail on the plans were set out in the autumn statement paper the Treasury issued to accompany the chancellor’s speech. It confirms that the intention is for the target to be delivered through a combination of public and private investment and a range of “cost-free and low-cost” measures aimed at reducing energy demand. A new energy efficiency taskforce (EETF) is being set up to lead on the delivery of the new target.
The Treasury said: “The government is announcing a new long-term commitment to drive improvements in energy efficiency to bring down bills for households, businesses and the public sector with an ambition to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 against 2021 levels. New government funding worth £6 billion will be made available from 2025 to 2028, in addition to the £6.6 billion provided in this parliament. To achieve this target, a new EETF will be charged with delivering energy efficiency across the economy.”
Climate and sustainability expert Michael Watson said the ambition and long-term nature of the commitments was to be commended but warned of the challenges ahead.
“Previous initiatives have been challenging to implement and it will be a case of learning the lessons from those initiatives and what worked and what didn’t to ensure this ambition is achieved,” Watson said.
“Critically, any initiative such as this requires a combination of regulatory change and compulsion on the one hand, and financial incentives and support on the other: both are important. Whilst it may be a difficult message in times where government is focussed on spending restraint, generally in the early stage of implementing an initiative like this the ‘carrots’ of financial support and incentives often have the most impact – crowding in participants to generate a vibrant and competitive market in energy efficiency and enhancing innovative behaviour. Once the market expands and is proven to be effective, support can be scaled back,” he said.