If the UK had transitioned fully away from fossil fuels to renewable technologies it could have reduced the cost of energy bills in 2022 by around £1,750, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has said.
In addition to the £1,750 that could have been saved, the ECIU also detailed that a further £400 could have been saved on food bills due to the impact climate change and volatile oil and gas prices had on the sector. This brings the total amount that could have been saved to £2,150.
The utilisation of green technologies has been touted as one of the primary methods in reducing energy bills amid the energy crisis. This crisis has been amplified due to volatility in the wholesale gas market due to several factors, in particular the impact of the war in Ukraine.
Several factors have also been highlighted in having caused delays on the UK’s net zero journey. This includes the cutting of insulation programmes, the ban on onshore wind farms, the failed heat pump rollout programme and the slowdown in rooftop solar panel installations. The costs of these failures could well be in the realm of £39 billion, the ECIU said.
The ban on onshore wind has been a detriment to the UK’s renewable generation sector since it was first implemented in 2016. The government attempted to rectify this issue last month stating it would relax its de facto ban on onshore wind following growing pressure from MPs.
Simon Clarke MP, the former Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, put forward an amendment to the Levelling Up Bill in November that would allow local planning authorities to approve onshore wind projects. This gained support from other members of the Conservative party, including the likes of former Prime Ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, as well as Alok Sharma, president of COP26.
“The IMF says that the UK is over-reliant on gas and that particular chicken has come home to roost this year with many households struggling to pay their bills,” said Jess Ralston, head of energy at ECIU.
“It’s clear that had investments in home insulation, onshore wind and other net zero technologies been made earlier, homes could be thousands of pounds better off.
“Upfront investments are needed, but just as green levies on bills have built a renewable energy industry delivering cheap, clean electricity and jobs, the paybacks are measured in thousands of pounds for homes and billions for the UK as a whole.”