Thank you all for coming. It’s great to be here today, to launch the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office.
This is one of my first official engagements as Secretary of State. I could hardly pick a better place to get started.
Not just because we’re here in John Lewis, the model of responsible capitalism. But because I’m hugely enthusiastic about energy efficiency.
It’s the cheapest way of cutting carbon - and cutting bills for consumers. It has to be right at the heart of what we do.
That’s why the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office was set up. For the first time, we’ll be able draw on the expertise of a dedicated energy efficiency team.
A team with real experience and a clear job description: to help us deliver our existing policies, and find new ways to save energy, right across the economy.
We need this expertise now more than ever. Not only do we face a growing gap between energy supply and demand.
By 2050, we’ll need to cut our energy use by between a third and a half. And we’re about to begin the biggest energy efficiency drive this country has ever seen.
Later this year, the Green Deal will go live. And EEDO will help us deliver it, alongside our other energy saving policies:
Smart meters, to give consumers more control over their energy use.
The Renewable Heat Incentive, to change the way we generate and use heat.
And the Climate Change Levy and Climate Change Agreements, to encourage industry to save energy.
EEDO will be a centre of expertise: challenging our work, and providing analysis and evidence to support it.
But it also has a bigger goal. We need to make energy efficiency real and relevant to people’s everyday lives.
Saving energy ought to be easy. But for some households, it can seem overwhelming.
Two out of three consumers think their home is wasting energy. But only one in three is going to do anything about it.
Over a third of consumers don’t know that energy suppliers offer cheap insulation.
And two thirds of us don’t know what a smart meter does.
For families facing higher bills, more efficiency could make a real difference. Homes without insulation could save hundreds by getting lofts lagged and walls treated.
For businesses, there are even bigger rewards on the table. But recent research suggests that when it comes to energy efficiency, too many executives lack confidence in the return on investment.
70% of businesses are planning investment in efficiency projects in the next three years. But one in three directors are unconvinced of the benefits. And one in four don’t even know what their annual energy bill is.
That has to change. We need to get out there and show people what energy efficiency can really do for them. The money it can save, the carbon it can offset, and the green growth opportunities it presents.
The Green Deal, for example, will bring jobs right across the skills spectrum - and right across the country. I want to see genuine competition, as local authorities and local businesses compete with national brands to bring energy saving deals to market.
It can help us deliver a fairer, greener economy. And help us get young people back into work - or into work for the first time.
Speaking of which, Monday was my first day on the job. At BRE’s Innovation Park, I spoke to graduates who are beginning careers in sustainable building.
It was inspiring: not just to see young people making a start in such an important sector. But because to them, saving energy is already normal.
In the long term, that’s what EEDO is for. To change the way we think about energy efficiency.
And although I’m only a few days into the job, I think we’re putting together a great team to do just that.
The Energy Efficiency Deployment Office might not have the same panoramic views as this building. But what it lacks in ambience, it will make up for in ambition.
And with that, let me hand you over to Greg, who will talk a little more about what we need from you.
Find out more about the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO)