That’s the reasoning behind a new bill launched in Westminster last night by a coalition of green groups including the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the Passivhaus Trust, and the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA).

In effect, the ‘Cost Effective Energy Measures Bill’ would require new Energy Minister Amber Rudd to draw up an Energy White Paper that would investigate the costs and benefits of moving away from large power stations towards more locally-generated power and more efficient buildings.

SEA chief executive Dave Sowden said: “Our research, based on government figures and HM Treasury methodology shows that energy saved and energy produced from buildings costs far less than large-scale energy generation – yet it is not given sufficient priority in current energy strategy.

“A more buildings-focused approach to energy could save the UK £12bn a year.”

That saving comes from the difference in generation costs between large-scale power stations (£108/MWh) and low-carbon energy from buildings – such as rooftop solar, which costs on average £91/MWh.

The SEA also claims that its programme would boost GDP by almost £113.9bn by 2030, while creating around 108,000 jobs in the prior 10 years. 

Solving the trilemma

Five cross-party speakers including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and the Rt Hon. The Lord Deben spoke in support of the bill, calling it an effective way of dealing with the ‘energy trilemma’ of energy security, affordability and carbon intensity.

Nick Mead, president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), which also supports the bill, said: “Many of the current policies on power generation, energy efficiency and waste are relics of the last century and fail to take into account advances in technology in the built environment, costing the country billions.

“Of particular concern is the energy performance in buildings, which is too often much lower than what was promised at the design stage, costing far more in operation by wasting energy. It is vital that correcting this deficiency is made a national priority by the Government, by acting on the recommendations in the White Paper this bill mandates.”


It is hoped the proposal will be introduced by an MP as a Private Members Bill.

Two MP’s who attended Wednesday’s launch – Conservative MP’s Mike Wood and Caroline Ansell  – will have the opportunity to do just that,  having been drawn from a ballot on Thursday morning.

Both MP’s have been contacted by the coalition, but it is not yet known whether they will choose to introduce the ‘Cost Effective Energy Measures Bill’

Historically, Private Members Bills have just 11% chance of becoming law, but the SEA’s Sowden remained optimistic.

He said: “We have a very experienced team with an unprecedented track record in taking 16  Private Members Bills through to becoming law  and an MP who takes up this Bill will benefit from our considerable experience and supporting campaign resources.”

Brad Allen

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