We need to target support towards those who need it more, says industry expert

For our 100th Net Hero Podcast episode, we spoke to Energy UK’s Communications Director, Juliette Sanders who said engagement with the public is key to net zero

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Net zero is the answer to affordable energy.

This is what Juliette Sanders, Energy UK’s Communications Director told us in this week’s Net Hero Podcast.

She said: ‘Net zero is the answer to cheaper energy and it is the answer to how we’re going to make sure that the economy continues to be able to compete on a global scale.

‘So [net zero] is about carbon emissions but it’s also about supporting everybody to make sure they can afford their bills.

‘And then it’s also about how do we make sure that we’re creating jobs in areas that are outside of London, 88% of the jobs in the green economy are going to be outside of London and the southeast. So luckily, what we want from the climate perspective actually also ticks all those other boxes.’

Juliette told us that the country needs to throw everything it has at climate change.

She said: ‘Part of [the solution] is technology and innovation driven.

‘But then there’s been big efforts in energy efficiency, which is a huge part of reaching net zero. How do we stop the wastage? We’re chucking money through the windows because our houses aren’t insulated properly.

‘And innovation will just make it easier for people to do all this. That’s the point – How do we make it as easy as possible for people to make the right decisions that are right for them?

‘And that means giving them the right information so that they can choose because it’s not going to be the same solution for everybody. It means targeting support at those that might need it more than other people, because not everybody is going to be able to afford to make those improvements in their homes or change the way they drive, or even drive at all.’

Juliette said that the next stage of the energy transition is going to be more difficult and engagement with people is key.

She said: ‘When we decarbonise heat and we decarbonise transport, that is going to mean disruption in people’s homes, it is going to mean engaging with people, it’s going to mean getting the smart meter rollout done.

‘Really exciting stuff like the demand flexibility servcice last year, using customer demand to help manage the grid. And that was, I think, 1.6 million customers with smart metres took part in that and it meant that they were getting paid to shift their demand, instead of fossil fuel producers being paid to shift up or down to balance the demand.

‘But you need a smart meter to do that. So how can we make sure that we’re engaging with everybody so that they can get the benefits from this transition as well as the wider societal benefits that we’ll all get when we get there?’

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