Energy UK has outlined proposals it believes will jumpstart the transformation of the energy sector in its Future of Energy report published today (23 April).

The report outlines the trade body’s vision of the future of the sector to “better deliver for customers and to decarbonise the economy”.

The five sections of the report include:

  • The future retail market and customers’ relationship with it
  • Funding future electricity generation and system services
  • Reducing emissions from buildings
  • The sustainable transition to a low carbon road transport system
  • Transporting energy to and from customers through transmission and distribution networks

Writing in a foreword to the report Lawrence Slade, Energy UK’s chief executive, said the document explores possible solutions to “meet the challenges of rising customer expectations, decarbonising our economy and keeping pace with rapid technological advances”.

“This complex puzzle has no single solution, but with the right direction and structures in place, the energy sector can deliver an exciting, customer-driven energy system that is fit for the future”, he added.

Specifically the report includes proposals which Energy UK believes will “kick-start” the action needed in a number of areas including:

  • Changing current “one size fits all” regulation for retail suppliers to increase competition and choice for customers by allowing providers to offer tailored services whilst maintaining consumer protections.
  • Clear requirements and targets for energy efficiency and low carbon heating in all our homes to drive change alongside incentives and support.
  • Empowering local partnerships to deliver a variety of potential low carbon heating solutions that best suit their communities and businesses.
  • Making smart charging the default option for EV drivers to reduce demand on the grid and keep bills down along with establishing a core network of ultra-rapid chargers.
  • Ensuring all low carbon technologies have the same opportunities to further drive costs down for consumers while providing a stable policy framework that will give investors the confidence to fund the billions of investment needed.
  • Giving flexibility technologies the chance to provide cheaper alternatives to network reinforcements.

Slade added: “As a sector we’ve led the way so far by halving emissions in the last ten years with the growth of renewables meaning that the majority of our electricity generation now comes from low carbon sources – and at an ever-falling cost to customers.

“But this progress will be wasted unless we press ahead, not just by continuing to decarbonise our sources of power, but crucially by doing the same in others sectors like heating and transport and getting serious about making our homes and businesses energy efficient.

“Setting clear targets and expectations in these areas will give the signal for the industry, in partnership with others, to bring the same innovation and investment that has already delivered results when moving to cleaner sources of power.”

Also writing in the report’s foreword was Citizens Advice’s chief executive Gillian Guy who said: “The coming years could bring an even greater revolution of how to deliver energy, with data and technology unlocking new opportunities for consumers. But there are likely to be ongoing challenges, including informing, encouraging and protecting consumers who have for decades grown accustomed to the status quo.

“Furthermore, it’s clear that some people will need more support to access a good range of products in a future market. Not only must the transition be fair, but it must also be clearly seen to be so.

“Citizens Advice welcomes the focus on the consumer and many of the recommendations behind Energy UK’s Future of Energy vision.

“This report sets out clearly the challenges this sector faces and a vision of a future market and we look forward to working with Energy UK and its members to realise the reality of a truly consumer-focused energy future.”

Read Energy UK’s chief executive Lawrence Slade’s exclusive opinion piece for Utility Week here

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