When countries set out their cases for energy independence, the main reason is generally cited as the need to ease reliance on oil and gas from unfriendly places. President Barack Obama's 'All of the Above' energy strategy for example, a plan that has seen this US administration extract more fossil fuels than any other, is very much predicated on the need to lessen oil imports from Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Economists need to pay more attention to resources as there is a clear and pressing need to develop greater resilience to commodity price shocks. While this will not solve all our economic problems, it can make an important contribution to many of them. For this reason, the careful management of resources should be right at the heart of economic policy.
One word of warning, if you are considering applying for a payback, my advice would be to do it so sooner rather than later. The Government plans to review the scheme quarterly and will reduce the incentive as necessary based on the number of people wanting to join. This is one example where it really will pay to be in there from the beginning.
The mood, ambition and announcements at the World Economic Forum in Davos has left me feeling more energized and confident than ever that 2014 will be the year when the world can and must come together to meet the growing challenge of climate change and seize the opportunities manifest in a transition to a low carbon economy.
A number of issues have been blamed for poor take-up of the Green Deal, from early IT glitches and inadequate marketing to overly-complex administration. But it is the relatively high interest rates on Green Deal loans - around 8 per cent - that have most commonly been cited for deterring consumers from signing on the dotted line.
After Ed Miliband's price freeze plan took the party conference season by storm, energy was rarely out of the headlines in the final months of 2013. The most recent twist came last week, with uSwitch showing that bill payers are £53 a year worse off today than in January 2013, despite high profile action from government aimed at countering price rises.
So the saying goes "if you can't beat them, join them" and the latest raft of energy price hikes suggests now is the time for UK consumers to consider doing just that. We are a nation tired of being held to ransom by our energy bills - so has the time come to ditch our reliance on energy companies by becoming the bosses of our own energy supplies?
Over the past five years, more and more of my work is with developers who are developing new neighbourhoods or updating existing areas. As a sustainability consultant, I look for ways we can take advantage of large scale development to transform the efficiency of our energy, water, waste and transport systems. Neighbourhood development often has benefits over individual sustainable buildings.
If the phrase 'smart metering programme' means nothing to you, then it is time to get reading. This is your beginners guide and will take you from novice to being pretty well informed on the new government programme. Why is this important? The scheme is set to take off in 2014 and will be rolled out to every home and small business in the UK - you can't hide from it!