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Energy Barometer

Views from UK energy professionals

The Energy Barometer is the EI’s flagship report which captures insights from our members to inform the energy debate. The following highlights emerged from the 2019 report.

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Biggest
challenges

Top of risk radars: impacts of Brexit compound perennial concerns about UK energy policy

1 in 3 EI members identified Brexit as the... Read more

1 in 3 EI members identified Brexit as the single greatest challenge facing their industry in 2019, more than any other concern, and more than at any time since the EU referendum. The continued focus on Brexit is swallowing up the political bandwidth needed to make progress in energy, compounding concerns about energy policy, markets, economics, competition, security of supply and investment risk, in particular in relation to the electricity grid.

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Climate change
targets

Outlook on decarbonisation: energy professionals are increasingly optimistic about meeting emissions targets

There has been a steady increase in... Read more

There has been a steady increase in optimism since 2015 that the UK can meet its longterm emissions reduction goals. More and more EI members think the UK will meet or exceed its 2050 GHG emissions target – from 13% in 2015 to 30% in 2019. The falling costs of low carbon technologies such as wind, solar and storage are seen as driving progress but there remains much work to be done in heat and transport. EI members are divided about the economic impact of striving for net-zero emissions by 2050.

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Policy and
investment

Renewables up, nuclear down: survey exposes contrasting fortunes of low carbon power generation technologies, while the ‘first fuel’ is still energy efficiency

As in each of the past five years, EI members... Read more

As in each of the past five years, EI members recommend energy efficiency as the first port of call for cost-effective, lowrisk decarbonisation. EI members pick energy efficiency as the top measure for meeting the fifth carbon budget at least cost – a view shared by professionals working in all areas of energy.
Renewables – and offshore wind in particular – are the stand-out generation technologies of 2019, ranked favourably in terms of policy effectiveness and investment risk, contrasting with pessimism around the delivery of new nuclear.

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Energy
prices

Geopolitical instability is fuelling global oil price uncertainty

More than half of EI members (53%) foresee... Read more

More than half of EI members (53%) foresee geopolitical instability having the greatest impact on crude oil prices in 2019, in turn affecting transport fuel prices. As in previous years, actions of oil producers and demand in developing nations are also notable oil price drivers. While acknowledging the unpredictability of the market, EI members forecast modest price increases over the coming year.

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Flexibility and
digitalisation

There is vast potential for flexibility backed by digital technologies, given greater political will

While 82% of EI members support... Read more

While 82% of EI members support incentives for system flexibility to accommodate the rise of renewables and other causes of variability on power networks, there is frustration that a lack of political will is holding back progress.
Battery storage is seen as the front-runner for enabling flexibility. However, there is less confidence in the growth potential of demand side response and distributed generation.
Digitalisation is also seen as vital for system integration. 61% of EI members believe supportive policy and regulation could open the door to the UK becoming a global leader in this field.

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Outlook for
consumers

Is consumer king? Poor communication may prevent consumers benefitting from progress in energy

Twice as many EI members believe energy companies... Read more

Twice as many EI members believe energy companies, as opposed to their customers, will benefit the most from the data revolution in energy. They flag the need for improved communication for consumers to realise these benefits.
Although more than half of EI members see public pressure as a driver of decarbonisation, a similar proportion nevertheless believe domestic customers prioritise low bills over low carbon energy.
A fifth of EI members fear the low carbon transition will push up fuel poverty, regardless of government measures.

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News and updates

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About this project

The Energy Barometer is an annual survey of the Energy Institute (EI) College, a sample group designed to represent a diverse range of sectors, disciplines and seniority levels of the EI’s UK membership. The EI college is made up of professional and pre-professional members from three different EI member grades: Fellow (FEI), Member (MEI) and Associate Member (AMEI). Areas of the energy industry with the largest representation include Academia and research; Buildings; Energy demand management and utilisation; Natural gas and oil, and Renewable technology.

The survey questions are designed by the EI Knowledge Service (EIKS), under the guidance of the EI’s Energy Advisory Panel and other industry experts. Some questions are repeated annually to track trends over time; others cover topical subjects that change year-on-year. The survey focuses on the UK energy system and encompasses a wide range of topics including UK energy policy effects, climate change targets and global energy prices.

The survey includes multiple choice as well as free response questions. The responses are analysed to assess key findings and identify themes from the results. The answers to free response questions are coded and mentions of these codes are counted across responses. In the report, responses are presented as percentages of respondents, unless stated otherwise. This can lead to percentages adding up to more than 100%, in the case of multiple choice questions where respondents are allowed to choose more than one option, or in the case of a free response question where a single response may have been assigned more than one code.

Archive

The previous Energy Barometer reports and data are available for download below.

Contact

The Energy Barometer is an ongoing project, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future editions.

For further information, please contact: barometer@energyinst.org