Current affairs

By guest columnist Bill Wright, head of energy solutions, Electrical Contractors’ Association

The recent announcement that EDF are to build the UK’s first new nuclear power station in 20 years is good news for the economy and for the long term future of secure energy supply. Unfortunately this will take at least 10 years to construct so we will have to rely on more conventional sources until then. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that energy prices will still rise! The fact that they have doubled in the past decade should give an indication of things to come. This gives added impetus to the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry. The high cost of energy makes the installation of energy efficient devices and installations more imperative and encourages more use of renewable energy systems. If you can generate your own power on site that is less power to import and makes the use of the storage systems that I mentioned in this column last month more economic. It will be difficult to make a modern building completely off grid as the incoming power can provide for the peaks of the buildings energy usage but it must make good capital investment sense to put as much renewable power into a building as possible. With the current incentives both in FiTs and the RHI there is an exceptionally good return on capital with the added bonus of being partly insulated from rising energy prices. There may yet be more added incentives to save energy as consultations have taken place on Electricity Demand Reduction and the recent Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme consultation is proposing audits for medium to large energy users with recommendations on energy reduction. If these are coupled with further incentives, and perhaps with an improved Green deal, then the energy efficiency industry could have a new lease of life.