ESOS stays; with the scheme’s continuation, the urgency for business energy efficiency hastens

| Posted in: Lighting

Leading environmental publisher EDIE.net is reporting that ESOS will stay, despite UK political uncertainty and Brexit.

‘Brexit had thrown ESOS into a state of uncertainty, as the scheme was brought in as part of the UK’s implementation of the European Commission’s 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive, which may cease to apply after the UK’s departure from the EU,’ EDIE’s editor writes.

But it cites an Environment Agency  (EA) newsletter, which talks about enforcement and Phase 2, and therefore tacitly confirms the scheme’s future.

The Environment Agency’s regular newsletter confirms that the scheme will continue into its second phase as planned. It also confirms that it is now encouraging businesses to begin carrying out energy audits before the Phase 2 compliance deadline of 5 December 2019.

 

The EA stance in detail

‘If you know that you will qualify for Phase 2, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start doing your energy assessments now,’ writes the EA.

Meanwhile, the EA has already issued more than 300 enforcement notices to non-compliant organisations, with around 200 more penalties expected this financial year.

And hundreds more organisations could be in line for fines, which can be as high as £50,000, after incorrectly claiming that they did not qualify for the scheme upon the ultimate ESOS Phase 1 deadline of 29 April 2016.

 

ESOS lives; the analysis

The statement of intent for ESOS is welcome news for all low carbon advocates. The scheme hastens energy efficiency and puts it in front of the board, even though installing tech isn’t compulsory.

But more deeply, ESOS survival, coming as it does with a watered-down Queen’s Speech, in which Conservative ambitions to cap energy costs have been toned down, may signal that the majority of existing low carbon regulation is here to stay, in the short term at least.

Put simply, there may be a lack of both political will and political ability to shake up existing low carbon law.

“At Lumilow Lighting, we welcome the news that ESOS is here to stay,” comments Managing Director Andy Chell. “The scheme is a superb example of how we can put energy efficiency on the map, and in front of the boards who ultimately make the decisions on how money is spent.

“Perhaps we can even see extensions to ESOS in the future, in which actual installation of the energy savings recommendations becomes mandatory. This would give the scheme even stronger legs and help ready the UK for low carbon.”

Businesses must take the scheme’s survival as a clear message; upping their game on energy efficiency is no longer just the right choice, in terms of costs and sustainability. It’s also the choice dictated by Government, and an obligation that simply must be met.

Hugh Jones, Managing Director of The Carbon Trust, told EDIE, “The earlier the opportunities are identified, the sooner energy saving projects can be implemented.

The Lumilow viewpoint is one that supports this way of thinking. By moving forward without delay on ESOS Phase 2 today will help organisations to minimise the risk of disruption during the compliance process and get maximum financial value from cost-effective energy efficiency.