ON Wednesday, the First Minister announced the Energy Efficient Scotland programme, a long-term, 20-year programme aimed at improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s building stock. It aims to stimulate a mass programme of building improvements, insulation and installation of new heating technologies to make homes and workplaces warmer, reduce energy bills and address fuel poverty. But Energy Efficient Scotland should have additional positive impacts, including on the health of Scottish people, the performance of the Scottish economy and the carbon emissions we generate. The focus of our work is the economy. Our team at the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Energy Policy (CEP) have been exploring the potential long-term economic impacts of the residential side of the programme, both on individual sectors and on key macroeconomic indicators, including GDP, employment and public budgets. We used our economy-wide multi-sector macro-economic model to estimate the impact of an £8 billion overall investment in improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing stock. Based on a continuation of current levels and composition of real spending on Scottish residential energy efficiency, but shifting focus to the new 20-year framework, this total is made up of: 20 per cent in Scottish Government grants (all directed to low-income households), a further 15 per cent via the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and 65 per cent in household contributions (via interest-free loans). Calculations using data provided by the Scottish Government and Energy Saving Trust suggest that that this may translate to an average 9-10 per cent reduction in physical energy requirements to run Scottish households, rising to 13 per cent in low income household s, where most direct government grant support is directed. If this translates to lower energy bills, it suggests a boost to real incomes and spending power.
Herald 5th May 2018 read more »