The UK’s main engineering bodies have urged government to provide energy efficiency payments or tax breaks to businesses, communities and households that can demonstrate proven reductions in demand.
The Energy Saving Incentive scheme is one of many recommendations based on the views of 1,300 engineers from 35 engineering bodies surveyed in response to the government’s Industrial Strategy consultation.
The engineers also urged government to give teeth to existing energy efficiency regulations. Esos, notes the report, could unlock more than £31bn of savings over the net 13 years – if companies were required to act upon mandatory energy audits.
Focusing on energy efficiency and productivity will be the cheapest way of decarbonising the economy and increasing UK competitiveness the report suggests. It urged policymakers to take a system-wide approach to energy with particular focus on heat.
Lamenting the scrapping of carbon capture and storage support, the report reiterated views that CCS would be “critical” for meeting carbon budgets after 2023 and likely “essential” in decarbonising heat.
The engineers also backed support for small nuclear reactors, heat networks and hydrogen trials. According to survey respondents, tidal power is “the most important renewable power source to be supported” as it is “reliable and does not require back-up, and has huge potential in the UK”.
While the UK is a leader in offshore wind, the report also highlighted the fact that the value of its supply chain is mainly heading offshore.
Meanwhile, three quarters (74%) of respondents said that government should prioritise support for clean energy technologies and storage via the £1bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, a view government appears to share.
The wide-ranging report also recommends changes to public procurement practises to focus on best value over lowest cost, and to enable smaller firms to participate in tenders; facilitating regional co-ordination of infrastructure development; and for accounting treatment of assets to switch to a Totex (total expenditure) model to ensure best value.
See the report here.