Members of UK’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce confirmed as group kick-starts work

The Taskforce was first confirmed late last year by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. At the Autumn Statement in November 2022, Hunt set a new target to cut absolute energy use in buildings and industry by 15% by 2035. He confirmed £6bn of additional energy efficiency spending for 2025 and beyond, plus the creation of the Taskforce to contribute to the design and allocation of future funding schemes. Hunt emphasised the importance of energy efficiency to energy security, economic growth and the delivery of the net-zero transition.

Subsequently, Lord Callanan and Alison Rose, chief executive at Natwest, were confirmed as co-chairs for the new Taskforce in early 2023.

This week, the UK Government has confirmed full membership of the Taskforce, following its first official meeting. The meeting came as Hunt increased the ambition of the energy efficiency target, moving it forward to 2030 as part of the Budget. He also extended the remit of the target from buildings and industry to all UK energy demand.

The Department for Energy Security and Net-Zero (DESNZ) said in a statement that the 13 additional members of the Taskforce have “unique experiences and perspectives” that “bring together a vast wealth of knowledge to deliver the Government’s ambitious commitments”.

The new members are:

  • David Thomas, chief executive, Barratt Developments
  • David Halpern, chief executive, Behavioural Insights Team
  • Graham Bell, chief executive, B&Q
  • Mitesh Dhanak, chief executive, Cenergist
  • Laura Sandys, Chair, Government’s Energy Digitalisation Taskforce
  • Professor Will Swan, director, Energy House Laboratories at University of Salford
  • Emma Pinchbeck, chief executive, Energy UK
  • Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas, chief executive, Green Finance Institute
  • Michael Liebreich, chair and chief executive, Liebreich Associates
  • Stephen Phipson, chief executive, Make UK
  • Adam Scorer, chief executive, National Energy Action
  • Sir John Armitt, Chair, National Infrastructure Commission
  • Carl Ennis, chief executive, Siemens
  • David Postings, chief executive, UK Finance
  • Simon McWhirter, deputy chief executive, UK Green Building Council

Lord Callanan said: “We have scoured the UK’s industry to amass a top team of the best and brightest, and I am excited to learn from the unique expertise that each member brings to the table.

“We firmly believe the will of people and industry to drive down energy use is there, but we need to put in place the right mechanisms to channel this. That means smart investment, effective engagement, and building the right skills base – and this is precisely what the Taskforce will be focussing on.”

Green economy reaction

Reacting to the news, the Association for Distributed Energy’s (ADE) energy efficiency policy manager Chris Friedler said: “We have initial concerns installers and those in other parts of the supply chain are not sufficiently represented, but we welcome the clear emphasis on green finance and regulatory frameworks. The Taskforce must investigate options for the owner-occupier sector in particular, and with the ADE’s experience in this space, we will work collaboratively with the Taskforce to deliver comfortable, affordable and sustainable buildings for all.”

Danfoss’s vice-president for Danfoss Climate Solutions in Northern Europe, Daniel Scott, added: “This new Taskforce is certainly a step in the right direction. However, we would like to see the scope of this taskforce expand significantly. Energy efficiency goes well beyond buildings. This taskforce’s primary focus will be on improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes and buildings. This is promising, but we’d like to see a wider remit that also covers the entire economy of the UK, including industry and transport.

“For example, there are incredible opportunities to reduce our energy demand in our cities by reusing energy from industry, our data centres, our waste facilities and our supermarkets. We could also reuse heat on a large scale… We hope this kind of energy recycling, a key part of energy efficiency, is acknowledged and utilised by the new Taskforce, especially as the cost of living crisis continues to damage businesses and lower standards of living for consumers.”

DESNZ has stated that the Taskforce will “look at ways of drawing on the expertise of a wider group of stakeholders” as its work progresses.

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