Energy efficiency & renewables must be at heart of Energy Strategy
The rapid expansion of the UK’s vast renewable resources, including onshore wind, and a nationwide energy efficiency drive should be the cornerstone of the government’s Energy Security Strategy, which is expected tomorrow (Thursday), says Friends of the Earth.
The UK’s reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels is the root cause of the energy crisis - as well as the climate emergency – so ministers should seize the opportunity this strategy presents to speed up the transition to a zero-carbon economy, rather than opening new oil and gas fields.
Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, Danny Gross, said:
“The Energy Security Strategy is a golden opportunity to end our reliance on costly fossil fuels by insulating our heat-leaking homes and developing our massive renewable energy resources.
“A street-by-street programme of free loft and wall insulation could help millions of homes save energy and bring down soaring bills. “Onshore wind has to be part of the solution too – it’s cheap, popular, quick to develop and can supply huge quantities of clean, homegrown power.”
Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to:
• Introduce a huge nationwide energy efficiency drive – with particular focus on the UK’s heat-leaking homes. The government should pay councils to roll out a street-by-street programme of free loft and wall insulation, starting in neighbourhoods with high fuel poverty. This would not only reduce energy demand, it would cut fuel bills too. Almost 8 million homes could benefit and it could be carried out quickly.
• Help homes get off gas The government should fully fund low-carbon heating solutions for those unable to pay and remove caps on the number of available grants. Doing so would help the 10 million homes ready for fitting heat pumps, and mean it isn’t just the wealthy who can benefit from the transition to a low-carbon future.
• Rapidly increase renewable power infrastructure – including onshore wind Homegrown renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, and onshore wind and solar farms are the fastest to build. Planning barriers that hamper the development of onshore wind must be to lifted.
• Reject calls for new oil and gas extraction projects Opening new gas and oil fields will only fuel further climate breakdown. What's more, it fails to address the immediate needs of energy security and soaring energy prices.
• Introduce a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies Fossil fuel companies are enjoying record profits as our energy bills soar. Oil and gas companies should foot the bill.
Yesterday’s government announcement that it had launched a three month fracking review was a disappointing development. Friends of the Earth responded by saying: “We don’t need a review to know that fracking is not the answer to our energy needs. The idea that shale gas extraction will significantly lower energy bills or improve energy security is pure fantasy.”
An opinion piece on the upcoming Energy Review, written by co-executive directors of Friends of the Earth, Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles, is in today’s Times.
Notes to editors
1. More information on Friends of the Earth’s 5 point Energy Plan is here.