Today the UK Government released its proposals for Energy Security Day, including ‘£4bn from 2022 to 2025 to help develop the next generation of technologies and solutions needed to deliver the UK’s net zero target and to support innovative UK businesses to benefit from the growing global green economy.’ The emphasis is largely on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage and nuclear, plus some investment in offshore wind, green hydrogen and renewables. The announcement does mention a push on insulation – but this is not a new announcement.
“Unfortunately the government’s so-called Energy Security Day proposed measures do little to increase our energy security. It is the irony of ironies that these announcements – tellingly rebranded from their original title of ‘Green Day’ – actually further jeopardise chances of the UK meeting our 1.5 degrees climate commitment.
“The UK is particularly exposed to high energy prices because of our housing stock which literally leaks expensive fossil fuel energy out of walls, roofs and windows, and the piecemeal measures announced today fail to fix this. This was a chance to reset policy on energy efficiency but instead the government is supporting further oil and gas exploration and committing £20bn to technologies such as carbon capture and storage which are unproven at scale.
“£20bn could retrofit millions of homes and provide the government and society with huge quick wins – tackling the energy, climate and cost of living crises at the same time. Unfortunately, the expected £1bn for the ECO+ scheme – unconvincingly branded the Great British Insulation scheme and already announced in November is all padding and no substance. The government have also missed a big economic opportunity – to create 200,000 new jobs to make our homes more energy efficient.
“We welcome the proposed measures to boost the rollout of heat pumps, but unless we insulate first, many people will be left with high energy bills – a crucial detail that has been ignored by government.
“We need a bold new Net Zero strategy now that takes the climate emergency seriously and weans the UK off our addiction to gas and oil. That means long term policy certainty on energy efficiency and investment in the green construction skills needed to insulate our homes.”
Ashden works with local authorities and the retrofit and construction sector to share knowledge and examples of how to rapidly increase green jobs and skills and share low carbon innovation. Cara Jenkinson is co-author of Retrofit: solving the skills crisis – Ashden Climate Solutions.
Ashden is also part of the Warm this Winter coalition of NGOs which demands that the government provides more emergency money for people this winter, funding to help people cut their bills with better insulation, and rapidly moves the country away from expensive gas and onto cheaper, sustainable renewable energy.