Energy theme policies and campaigns

Promoting sustainable energy use and engineering sustainable supply is vital to our economy and modern lifestyles. By sharing knowledge, changing the way we behave and driving advances in technology the strain on the world’s resources can be reduced, more sustainable sources of energy developed and emissions reduced.

Each year the UK consumes the equivalent of around 160 million tonnes of oil to meet its energy demands. With many of our ageing power stations going offline during the coming decade, North Sea oil and gas resources becoming increasingly scarce, the oil price dropping substantially and ambitious targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions proposed, there are significant challenges ahead for the way in which we source, distribute and use energy.

Technological opportunities and engineering-led solutions should tackle:

  • Reduction of energy use

  • Energy conservation – changing wasteful behaviour to reduce demand

  • Energy efficiency – using technology to reduce energy losses and eliminate energy waste

  • Exploitation of renewable, sustainable resources

There must be a balanced more distributed supply of energy

Even after exploiting all the opportunities to reduce demand and provide locally-generated and distributed power, there will be a continuing significant role for centralised, grid-based electricity generation. A mixed portfolio of supply options should be preserved to enable a balanced grid and secure supplies, with an increasing share from renewables alongside a continuing role for coal and gas (both with carbon capture and storage) and nuclear.

The energy efficiency of old and new buildings must be improved

Priorities include a major refurbishment programme to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, the rapid implementation and enforcement of higher standards for new buildings and the provision of better advice and financial support for on-site energy supply (micro-generation) technologies.

Renewables must be explored and supported until commercially viable

The UK has an abundance and wide range of renewable energy sources available to it. We welcome the 15% by 2020 UK target for renewable energy set by the EU. It is achievable, but not with existing policies. A step change in the scale of ambition, reach and delivery of Government action is urgently required.

With tens of thousands of our members working in the energy sector, we are at the heart of the debate. Being a thought leader on energy means that we can influence Government, industry, research and support the industry.

Thought leadership

As one of the world’s fastest growing engineering institutions we are respected thought leaders and a valued voice in the engineering education debate, and we seek to influence the national education agenda.

By shaping the way the UK public sees engineering we will have a higher level of engineering literacy, which will in turn encourage more young people into engineering and increase the pool of talent for recruiters.

We are in the unique position of being able to influence the image of an industry that really matters. We truly believe we can improve the world through engineering, and want the UK public to share our vision and be part of it.

Dr Jenifer Baxter

Dr Jenifer Baxter

Energy policy spokesperson

Dr Jenifer Baxter joined the Institution as Head of Energy and the Environment in May 2015. Jenifer works closely with members to raise the profile of engineers and engineering potential, to generate discussion and provide thought leadership in the energy and environment sectors.

Read Jenifer's full biography

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