Finally, the focus on energy efficiency we need

Lucy Dixon
Head of Content

We all welcomed the news, back in the autumn 2022 statement, that the government would create a taskforce focused on energy efficiency, but it wasn’t until last week that further details were confirmed.

The cost of living crisis and soaring energy prices have made it impossible to ignore energy efficiency because, of course, the approach to cutting energy costs for households and businesses needs to start with using less of it in the first place.

So the news that Lord Callanan and Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, will co-chair the new taskforce has been seen as a positive step. The elemental community has been largely encouraged by the terms of reference, which includes a pledge to “accelerate energy efficiency measures to cut national energy consumption by 15% over the next 7 years”.

Writing on LinkedIn, Alison Rose said:

I am delighted to have been asked to Co-Chair the new Energy Efficiency Taskforce, alongside Lord Callanan. Tackling the climate emergency cannot be done alone – it is a team sport. Building vital partnerships between the public and private sectors is key to addressing this challenge at pace and scale. This taskforce will bring together experts and leaders from across government, industry, academia and the charitable sector to identify the challenges and break down barriers to reduce our climate impact.

BESA’s technical director, Graeme Fox, said:

The building engineering sector will be pivotal to delivering energy efficiency improvements, but we need help to develop a skilled workforce capable of keeping pace with government targets, For example, the target is for 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028 which is about ten times what we are doing now. We need lots more people, but those people need to have the right skills so there needs to be a huge jump in spending on training and recruitment.

The taskforce’s priority areas of focus will include:

  • stimulating the supply chain to address and increase investment, reduce skills gaps, accelerate pathways to accreditation, improve product manufacturing capability, and increase the wider availability of materials required to deliver high quality upgrades at pace
  • identifying barriers and opportunities in existing market and regulatory frameworks to delivering the demand reduction ambition in a way that works for business, consumers and society in order to inform policy decisions
  • increasing consumer, public sector, and business engagement in the delivery of existing and new initiatives on energy efficiency and clean heat. This may include addressing the lack of consumer take-up or behavioural change and high attrition rates
  • working with the private sector to increase the availability of green finance linked to installation standards and quality
  • tackling different installation challenges and embedding the need for standards across differently funded markets (considering recent tragedies highlighting the risks in domestic settings)
  • working with DESNZ to gather, monitor and respond to data that shows progress towards the 15% demand reduction target
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