Energy demand solutions proposed in new Government report05 July 2019
Actions that could change consumer energy habits have been proposed in a new report aiming to help strengthen and deliver the commitments in the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy.
The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) has today launched its first major cross-theme report, based on existing research, called 'Shifting the focus: energy demand in a net-zero carbon UK'.
It seeks to answer the question: “what is the role for energy demand change in the transition to an energy system consistent with a net-zero carbon UK?”. The centre was launched in 2018 and involves a number of researchers at the University of Reading.
This report contains around 40 recommendations, some of which are very specific, but at a high-level it recommends:
- Prioritising energy demand solutions and recognising all of their benefits.
- Scaling-up policies that work now and investing in energy demand innovation in the long-term.
- That Government acts now to develop effective institutions and policy.
Dr Stefan Smith, urban energy demand researcher from the University of Reading, who was involved in the development of the report, said: "Demand-side solutions are critical to the challenges faced in the transition towards a low carbon energy system.
"Understanding how and where demand can change as part of this transition will be significant in helping address issues such as system capacity constraints (i.e. brown-outs and black-outs), efficiency, and inequality amongst others.”
Nick Eyre, CREDS Director, said: “Changing the way we use energy will be crucial to delivering a net-zero carbon UK. Energy supply has tended to be the main concern of energy policy, we need to shift that focus towards energy demand.
“Demand-side change has to be a major part of the strategy for an affordable, secure, netzero carbon energy system. Delivering it will not be easy, as it is a broad and complex agenda. But delivering the UK’s transition without doing this would be much more difficult.”
In a foreword to the report, Chris Stark, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change, said: “Public support for changing the way energy is used is essential. Reducing energy demand saves money for households and businesses, of course, as well as reducing emissions. And importantly, it can have other benefits – improving air quality, improving our homes and public spaces, and creating employment across the UK.”