E.ON UK Chief Executive Michael Lewis has today welcomed the elevation of energy efficiency and the climate emergency as some of the key issues in the 2019 General Election campaign.
A number of political parties are proposing radical action on housing standards as well as improving the energy efficiency of millions of existing homes across the UK – policies whichE.ON has repeatedly called for.
Michael Lewis said: “We’ve been saying for a number of years that energy efficiency needs to be made a national infrastructure priority and it appears the environment is fast becoming a key issue for voters and thus an area for debate among our political parties. We also know that the net economic benefits of investing in energy efficiency are enormous, with £3 of benefit for every £1 invested.
“The energy industry has made great strides in making power generation cleaner and more efficient and customers are increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability – a challenge we’ve responded to by ensuring we provide all our residential customers with electricity backed by 100% renewable sources.
“The next steps are to give people the power to improve their homes to make them as efficient as possible, to switch away from fossil fuels not only in how we heat our homes but also how we fuel our cars. That means making millions of homes fit for the 21st century through better insulation, converting to new, cleaner heating systems and ending our reliance on petrol or diesel for transport.”
E.ON has set out a number of policy measures that could help deliver a future energy system, including:
- Remove the exemptions from ECO or Warm Home Discount for all energy suppliers – this should be a cost of doing business in the market and exemptions create an unfair distortion
- Increase the current ECO budget of £640m to £2bn – predominantly by re-prioritising Government expenditure – to address the decline in the installation rates of energy efficiency in recent years
- Encourage the adoption of sustainable energy solutions such as heat pumps and solar and storage
- Increase the rate of energy efficiency installations from 9,000 to 21,000 per week from 2020
- Winter fuel payments should be targeted on those most in need of help, which we believe could free up around £1bn
- Provide access to low cost green finance to deliver net zero in an affordable way
- Introduce stamp duty reductions or other incentives to home owners who install solid wall insulation
- Incentivise businesses that own their own buildings to invest in energy efficiency via the creation of business rates relief
Michael Lewis added: “The multi-billion-pound investment needed over the next three decades will be spearheaded by the private sector working in partnership with local and national government. This is because, put simply, investment in clean energy is good for the economy and for employment. However, unlocking this opportunity requires a stable framework which is attractive to long-term investors, based on a new partnership between industry and Government – which means that good quality companies delivering value for customers should be able to earn a fair return on their investment.
“If we get this right, we can deliver sustainable green growth that encourages innovation and provides high value jobs. We can improve the lives and lifestyles of countless people and save them money in the process and we can relieve some of the burden on our NHS caused by damp and draughty homes or from the toxic air in our city streets.
“The next Parliament must step up to the challenge and implement new policies to enable action by all sectors to get the country back on track. The 2020s are undoubtedly a period that needs to be the decade of delivery on climate action.”