We are already seeing the positive effects of these measures – according to some estimates, in 2017 our carbon emissions from fossil fuels fell to levels last seen in 1890 – and it seems that the Government’s goals for a greener energy future are only becoming more enthusiastic.
Last week, the Government announced a new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction for the public sector, of 43% by 2020. This is a 10% increase on their previous target, which demonstrates not only their commitment to a cleaner future but also their confidence that we can maintain our current momentum. Their confidence doesn’t seem to be misplaced – the public sector met the original 2020 emissions goal in 2017 and saved over £100m in the last financial year alone. They expect to be able to save £340 million across the public sector estate if they can meet the increased target by 2020.
Going green: could we get there sooner?
According to the National Infrastructure Commission’s latest report, the UK could (and should) do more to reach a greener future more quickly.
The Commission was established in 2015, to provide five-yearly, independent assessments of the UK’s transport, utilities, flooding and digital infrastructure needs. In the report, the Commission claims that the UK currently has a ‘golden opportunity’ to make the switch to cleaner energy sources for homes and businesses without increasing consumers’ energy bills – but we must act now to avoid higher costs.
How can we achieve this?
The report’s authors believe that MPs can seize this opportunity by investing further in low cost renewable technologies. The Commission states that they should focus on mature technologies like solar and wind, where costs are falling faster than expected, and establish a clear pipeline for auctions to encourage the drive towards renewable tech. They have also recommended that the Government should increase the current target for the amount UK’s power generation to come from renewable sources by 2030 from 30% to 50%.
They believe that investment in flexibility through renewable technologies is the best way forward, and the report states that the Government shouldn’t support new nuclear after Hinkley Point C is completed so we have the flexibility to move towards more sustainable energy sources in the future.
The Commission also endorsed improving the energy efficiency of buildings across the UK and has called upon the Government to triple their existing funding for energy efficiency. They outline a number of improvements that can be made, from loft insulation to double glazing, to make a significant impact on a building’s efficiency rating.
Another ambition that the Commission believes could be increased is around electric vehicles, as they have stated that the Government should be prepared for 100% EV sales by 2030, rather than simply half of new car sales to be ultra-low emission by that date. The Commission has encouraged the Government to subside EV charger installations in order to encourage customers to adopt EVs.
What does this mean for businesses?
While the Government’s GHG emission target has only been increased within public sector organisations at this time, if MPs follow the NIC’s recommendations, businesses are likely to face increased pressure to ensure that they are as energy efficient as possible. Many organisations are already required to report on their GHG emissions, and this could be extended to include more businesses.
At Inenco, our team of industry experts have the expertise necessary to support businesses through our transition to a greener energy future, and we’re already helping many organisations to comply with their GHG reporting obligations. As part of our GHG reporting service, we analyse the ways in which you can reduce your costs and improve your efficiencies, so you can maximise savings across your portfolio and ensure your organisation is ready for a low-carbon future.
If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help your business to meet your GHG emissions obligations, or improve your energy efficiency, call us today on 08451 46 36 26 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.