Energy strategy highlights need for networks council and mass market buildings policy

07 Apr 2022

The UK’s new Energy Security Strategy, outlined this morning by BEIS Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng, aims to increase deployment of various means of energy supply, but BEAMA today explains that more action is needed on networks and buildings to achieve energy security and decarbonisation at least cost.

Government claims its strategy could mean that by 2030 95% of electricity generated in the UK is low carbon. Its recognition of the need for an energy supply baseline to support other renewables is useful.

BEAMA welcomes the aim to eventually decarbonise but notes the urgency of progress required to meet our demanding Carbon Budgets. We are also acutely aware of remaining challenges for networks and buildings that need to be met for secure and low carbon energy at least cost, despite the publication of the Net Zero and Heat in Buildings Strategies last year.

Based on research showing the upper limits of investment in electricity distribution networks (£7bn/yr by 2035) and end use technologies (£3bn/yr by 2035), an electricity supply chain council is urgently needed to reduce supply chain risks and capitalise on new energy supply. This cannot be done in a ‘business as usual’ fashion and we need new market conditions to stimulate investment within 5-10 years.

Furthermore, while there is some funding available for lower income households, we are currently nowhere near the mass market stage for technologies that could reduce building energy use in the most sustainable way. As well as insulation, technologies such as heating controls, energy storage, low carbon heating and heating system optimisation all have the potential to benefit consumers now and in the longer term. Energy generation is remote from householders’ daily lives, but Government could do much more to give consumers a pathway to obtaining the home upgrades that can benefit them.

We need action now to make this transition at the least cost. The CCC notes that many aspects of a Net Zero economy would mean lower running costs, but delay will not make the transformation any cheaper or easier.

Dr Howard Porter BEAMA CEO commented: ’This strategy on our future energy needs is a step in the right direction, but only highlights the need to upgrade our electricity grids and refurbish buildings. What is needed now is a focus on delivering all the measures needed to deliver on the 2030 aspirations. BEAMA will be working with the industry to establish a supply chain council for the electrical industry with BEIS, and it is hoped that the work of the net zero building council and others can also be accelerated in co-operation with the plans highlighted today’.