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9 Feb 2012

Davey to Press Energy Efficiency (Press Association)

New Energy Secretary Ed Davey is to put energy efficiency at the "heart" of Government efforts to cut carbon, in his first speech in the new job.

He will unveil details of the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office which has been set up to provide an efficiency strategy, including supporting the Government's flagship programme, the Green Deal.

The programme aims to cover the upfront cost of improvements to home energy efficiency such as insulation, with the money paid back by savings on bills, though concerns have been raised about the level of ambition in the project.

Mr Davey will tell a meeting of industry leaders at the John Lewis Partnership's Peter Jones store in Sloane Square, London, that energy efficiency is the cheapest way of cutting carbon and also cuts bills for consumers.

His comments come after the latest figures for UK greenhouse gases showed that in 2010, emissions rose for the first time since 2003, as cold winters at the beginning and end of the year led to an increased use in gas for heating homes. The figures prompted calls by environmental groups for the Government to raise its ambition on improving the energy efficiency of homes, to cut emissions and consumer fuel bills.

Mr Davey will say: "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."

He said the new deployment office would help consumers to adopt energy efficiency measures. Currently, he said, two out of three people think their home is wasting energy but just one in three is planning to do anything about it.

He will say: "The Green Deal will play a huge part in this work and will also support jobs in the insulation and construction industries - as many as 65,000 right across the country by 2015. 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.

"The UK has some of the most inefficient housing stock in the EU. But getting this right means as a nation we make energy savings over the next decade equivalent to two nuclear power stations while making everyone's homes warmer and cheaper to run."

Earlier this week Mr Davey, appointed after fellow Lib Dem Chris Huhne resigned as Energy Secretary to fight charges of perverting the cause of justice, insisted there would be no change of direction or ambition with a new man in the post and that his priorities were "green jobs, green growth and getting the best deal for energy bill payers".