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10th September 2008

UK 8020 Returns the Power to the People
Before another 30,000* pensioners die in winter 08

With an estimated six million** people rapidly approaching fuel poverty in Britain and energy prices reaching all time highs, UK 8020 has the answer to returning the power to the people in winter 08 - namely renewable energy generation (REG).

Supported by the likes of pop superstar, Madonna, world famous inventor, Trevor Baylis OBE, and social entrepreneur and founder of UK 8020, Robert Lee, the not for profit company has campaigned for over a year to bring an end to fuel poverty through energy efficiency and micro generation using REG.

Significantly, Age Concern and Friends of the Earth have now arrived at the same answer - the use of REG - and the government appears to be accepting that consumers generating their own electricity at home could be the way ahead.

Robert Lee, founder of UK 8020, says: "We’ve been banging on about the home generation of energy since we launched our two campaigns in July 07. It's becoming a classic case of big talk, no action and while we are all prevaricating, people are suffering and people will die."

UK 8020 launched in London during July 07 with its Climate Change Challenge and Pledge4REG, which encouraged the development of sources of renewable energy. Prize money of £100,000 and a place in the history books were offered to the first person who could invent a renewable energy generator (REG) that would provide 90% of the domestic electricity needs for free. As part of the rules, the target retail price for the unit with installation was £500. The second campaign, Pledge4REG, is being used to gather public support for renewable energy generators, and to acknowledge that fuel poverty could be eradicated through micro generation.

The other renewable option, solar and wind power technology, comes with a price tag of around £10,000, so is not affordable for the majority of consumers and the pay back is unrealistic, taking up to 15 years.

Robert says: "Literally giving back the power to the people is the only answer to beating rising fuel prices and eradicating fuel poverty. It will empower people not only to generate their own electricity but to be fuel efficient too.”

He adds: "A new industry with thousands of jobs could be created. The UK could be the world leader in this technology, creating a vast export industry that puts us back on the map as a leading manufacturing nation."

He concludes: "Micro generation has the potential to tackle climate change seriously by cutting carbon emissions, energy costs and reducing the dependency on fossil fuels. A report***, commissioned by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, said if the government offered the right combination of loans, grants and incentives, nearly 10 million micro generation systems could be installed by 2020, significantly reducing Britain's emissions and energy costs.

"By 2020, Britain needs to reach its EU target of 15% of energy from renewable energy generation. An affordable REG as proposed by UK 8020 could double that figure."

To find out more about the challenge, visit (,
or to pledge your support go to (


Notes to editors
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* 30,000 pensioners – based on estimates from the 07 winter cold related deaths and the recent increases in people in fuel poverty. See

** Research published by the National Housing Federation shows that 5.7m households will be spending at least 10% of their income on energy bills by the end of 2009 – an increase of 100% over 2005 levels.

With annual electricity bills due to increase to over £500 per year, and gas bills to increase to around £900, by 2010, the report shows that the number of people struggling to pay their bills will increase to record levels.

According to the report, 5,720,000 households will be in fuel poverty by the end of next year – compared to 2,400,000 in 2005 (and 3,774,000 at the end of 2007). This means 13.4m people will be hit by fuel poverty in 2009 – equating to 23% of the British population.

In 2005, the average energy bill per annum was £676. However, next year this is set to rocket to £1,406.

The above is taken from the National Housing Report press release at:

*** The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform report can be found at: