In a week, our world has changed.

7th Mar 2022

 

The awful situation in Ukraine has meant a rude awakening to some. European peace and stability have been shattered. Our world has changed. The implications will go far and wide. Our industry will be at the forefront of the shake-up.

The exact nature of the change is yet unknown, but when fracking is back on some peoples’ agenda; when Germany is preparing to keep nuclear and coal, rather than buy Russian gas, you know we are talking seismic change.

The economic fallout is yet to hit the UK but it is coming. Record energy prices are about to go higher. Short-term cash loans will seem trivial when faced with average energy bills expected to reach £3000 a year. But what can the UK do in the face of the energy market upheaval coming our way?

In the words of a former PM, “Insulate, insulate, insulate” would seem a good starting point. Not splashing cash at lost causes (by this I mean External Wall cladding) but at sensible, economical justifiable measures such as loft and cavity insulation; and yes, glazing too.

Reducing our demand for gas now helps cut bills. For a typical semi-detached home, according to the Energy Savings Trust, £300 of loft insulation will save the consumer £165 and reduce demand by nearly 3000 kWhs of gas. And that’s permanent, not a one-off.

Reducing demand will mean that our future energy requirements become easier to meet. Whether it is hydrogen or heat pumps, lower energy demand will make non-Russian supply that much easier to achieve. Yes, that is the thinking now going on in Whitehall.

Some sacrifices will need to be made and here’s a suggestion for free. From April, the Government is going to offer a £5000 cash handout to 30,000 households who fit a heat pump, replacing a boiler. This money will go to those who can afford to pay the other £5000 of costs associated with the installation. This annual cost of £150 million could mean 500,000 homes get free loft insulation, lower bills (down by £83 million overall) and reduced overall gas demand (1.5TWhs).

If we are serious about reducing European dependence on Russian gas, then it is time to look at what we do at home.

Best wishes, Mike Foster, CEO

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive

 

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