Technological innovation key to hitting energy efficiency targets
Tuesday 19th June 2012
At the end of last week the European
approved the EU's Energy Efficiency Directive following much
negotiation with EU energy ministers. Although it is still to be ratified by
member states this is clearly a major step along the path to a Europe-wide
programme of increasing energy efficiency which remains of critical importance
to energy suppliers and consumers.
Much of the reaction in the UK has
focused on the perceived role the UK
delegation played in watering down the directive
and the lowering of the 2020 efficiency targets.
However, a DECC spokesperson made an
interesting comment about the UK’s negotiating position: "It is important that the directive is not over-prescriptive about
how we get there and allows member states sufficient flexibility to innovate,
design and implement policy that best reflects national circumstances."
I think this is an important statement.
It’s extremely naïve to think that the huge improvements we need to achieve in energy
efficiency are going to come from existing technologies and top-down policy
making. The market needs to be open for technological innovation and new ideas
that will help us make big strides in improving efficiency, rather than relying
on legacy measures like home insulation and double-glazing.
These known efficiency measures are
undoubtedly important and vital to the long-term process. But they should not
be the be all and end all. Energy efficiency is not just about reducing wasted
energy, it is also tightly linked to lowering demand and this will not be
accomplished with cavity insulation.
New technologies need to be encouraged
and given a platform in the market. If the UK Government is serious in its
conviction to enable this kind of innovation then this is an important day for
energy efficiency in the UK.
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