I want to tell you why I believe energy efficiency is so important. Yes of course it is a vital part of how we cut carbon emissions and continue to meet the ambitious targets set out in the Climate Change Act, which will allow us to meet growing energy demand in a way that protects the environment for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. Of course that is important, but my argument today is not just about doing what is right for our planet, but doing what is right for our economy too.
Because make no mistake we are in a global race and the countries that succeed in that race, the economies in Europe that will prosper, are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient.
Let me be clear why that is. Energy consumption is set to grow by a third over the next two decades alone. And in a race for limited resources it is the energy efficient that will win that race.
It is the businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks who will be the most successful, it is the consumers who are the least vulnerable to energy prices whose household bills will be the lowest and who can be the most confident about their future. And yes, it is the countries that prioritise green energy that will secure the biggest share of jobs and growth in a global low carbon sector set to be worth $4tr by 2015.
So to those who say we just can’t afford to prioritise green energy right now, my view is we can’t afford not to.
Far from being a drag on growth, making our energy sources more sustainable, our energy consumption more efficient, and our economy more resilient to energy price shocks – those things are a vital part of the growth and wealth that we need.
Already today Britain is one of the best places for green energy, green investment, and crucially for green jobs anywhere in the world.
We have the world’s first payments for business for generating renewable heat, we have a pioneering carbon capture and storage programme, we have the largest offshore wind market in the world.
In the City of London we’ve got the world’s number one financial centre for low carbon industries, and vitally we are putting energy efficiency where it should be at the heart of our energy policy.
Our Green Deal will mean thousands of families can afford to insulate their homes for less, our reformed feed-in tariff is helping drive the growth of a vibrant and entrepreneurial decentralised energy sector, providing communities and business with a range of innovative clean technologies.
And our Green Investment Bank – political parties across the world talked about a Green Investment Bank – is the first of its kind in the world and has £3bn to invest in green energy projects, with a particular focus on energy efficiency. (…)