We do have to understand there’s a cost associated with reaching net-zero and a reducing our carbon emissions, just as we have to understand that if we fail, if our climate policy fails, then there will also be a very big cost associated with that. So, it is a question of which cost you want to pay, and when you have to pay it, and it is absolutely important that the government gets it right, and has a sort of consistent and coherent plan, which it doesn’t seem to have at the moment. Above all, if you really want to make sure you get the impact on the economy and particularly on people’s energy bills at home down, then you have really got to do something about energy efficiency, and we have frankly ignored that.
The first step is to spend the 7 billion pounds that the government promised in its manifesto to spend on energy efficiency, we need to start spending it. We are not spending it. The government’s policy has been incoherent, as we’ve seen, and I understand why business people feel very confused. We have had promise, after promise, after promise, that we’ll get the detail about what the government’s plans are, going back to this time last year when the Prime Minister announced his 10 point plan. But we’ve never heard any of the detail of who is going to spend what, and when, and who is going have to pay what, and when, from the government. So, people have got a right to be very frustrated. Then you’ve had this immediate pressure come along, which has wound up everybody’s anxiety about it quite a lot. But as Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said, you have to remember that this particular pressure is short term, it is not going to last forever. It is due to a particular set of circumstances which have led to the current price spike. The best way to reduce your exposure to all those volatilities, whether your a business, or whether you are a homeowner, is by improving the efficiency with which you use energy.
We do have a difficult set of circumstances. Quite a lot of it is our own fault. We haven’t invested enough in the renewables and improving and upgrading the electricity system, so it can cope with an increased proportion of our electricity coming from renewables, and renewables are coming in now, cheaper than anything else on the market. We decided to close down our gas storage, we have the least gas storage of any country in Europe, we have about 8 days of gas storage, instead or a typical 70 to 80 days. Now that’s a problem of our own doing, and if you don’t have any storage, then you are fantastically vulnerable to spikes in the cost of energy.
These are excepts from an interview for LBC The full discussion can be heard here: