Brexit has opened a new era in British politics. After the vote to leave the EU on the 23rd of June 2016 there is considerable uncertainty in all policy areas. Energy efficiency is no different. Discussing the implications of Brexit for energy efficiency policy, a Member of Parliament recently asked during a hearing of the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, “now that we have left the EU, what new freedoms do we have?” In reality, the EU never prevented Britain from being more ambitious on energy efficiency—it set minimum standards allowing Member States to define their own approach based on those standards. Many of the UK’s energy efficiency policies such as building codes and product policy have been implemented in the context of EU directives. As a result, individual households now use around 30 percent less energy than they did in 1970, with the bulk of this decrease occurring since 2004. At 2016 energy prices, this has reduced the average household energy bill by around £420 per year. Total household gas use decreased by 19 percent between 2000 and 2014, despite a 12 percent increase in the number of households and a 9.7 percent increase in population. Much of this success story is driven by European policies. So now that the UK leaves the EU—does Brexit put future energy efficiency progress at risk?
SPRU 13th March 2017 read more »