One in four households are concerned that the UK will not be able to generate enough energy to meet demand in five years’ time, according to a new poll.
The survey of over 2,000 adults, commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust and undertaken by Ipsos Mori to mark Energy Saving Week 2013, found that 26% of respondents thought it will be difficult to supply enough energy to meet the UK’s needs by 2018.
Fifty-two per cent said they would reduce their energy usage if it meant the UK had enough energy to cover supply in the future.
However, the survey found that other “big picture issues” are less likely to encourage people to become more energy efficient. Only around one in five looked at ways to reduce their energy use after hearing or reading about fracking or wind farms.
Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, argued that people were “bamboozled” by public debates on energy issues.
“On the one hand, fear around UK energy supply and rising bills is making people want to take action at home and reduce the amount of energy they use, but on the other hand debates on issues like fracking and wind turbines appear to be distracting the public from making meaningful energy efficiency upgrades which could save them even more money”, he said.
“While the big picture issues are an important part of the overall debate, we’ve got to focus on the things that strike a chord with people: saving money and guaranteeing we have enough energy for the future. Get these things right and people will take action at home.”
According to statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), an increasing number of households are embracing energy efficiency measures. This year, a million more properties installed loft insulation, 460,000 more had cavity wall insulation and 65,000 more had solid wall insulation.
“Pound for pound, using less energy in the first place is by far and away the most cost-effective thing to do and should be the UK’s number one priority,” Sellwood added.
On Thursday, a report by the International Energy Association (IEA) found that investment in energy efficiency had risen to $300 billion (£186 billion) in 2011, arguing that this gave it an prominent position among the world’s most important fuels.
IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said, “Energy efficiency has been called a ‘hidden fuel’, yet it is hiding in plain sight. Indeed, the degree of global investment in energy efficiency and the resulting energy savings are so massive that they beg the following question: Is energy efficiency not just a hidden fuel but rather the world’s first fuel?”
For Energy Saving Week, running from October 21-25, the Energy Saving Trust has published a list of energy efficiency tips, which can be viewed on its website.