Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start…

As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline.

71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such as solar panels and insulation at the end of August … But only 677 households have gone to the next stage and said they would like to proceed with the scheme. Of these, 12 houses have had measures installed, while 293 properties had quotes accepted on work and 372 properties had installations “pending”.

It was always easy to predict that it may well have been so.

The Green Deal – summary of Greg Barker speech at Ecobuild

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker had plenty to say about the Green Deal in his speech at the Ecobuild conference in London yesterday.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker had plenty to say about the Green Deal in his speech at the Ecobuild conference in London yesterday. The full text of the speech is available on the The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website.

My summary is:

  • Confirmation that the Deal will be launched this autumn.
  • Not only aimed at ‘a whole range of home improvements beyond insulation’

    The Green Deal will act as a catalyst to stimulate innovation so that more and more energy savings products come to the market.

  • Interesting statistics:

    The UK building stock was responsible for 43% of total UK emissions in 2009.
    We estimate that this year up to 4.1m households will be in fuel poverty in England alone.

  • The Green Deal varies from previous schemes in the breadth of the measures that should be eligible for it:

    The Green Deal has been designed to finance the installation of a broad range of measures across the energy efficiency market. Our goal is to enable the property to benefit from all the improvements that can create savings.

    The heating, glazing, lighting and Microgeneration industries will all be able to use this innovative financing mechanism.

    Less we-known measures which improve energy efficiency, such as flue gas heat recovery and waste water recovery systems will also be eligible for finance under the Green Deal.

    The key is for measures to be self-financing – able pay for themselves over their lifetime. However, even partially self-financing measures can still be part-financed under the scheme as part of a package of improvements.

  • The Renewable Heat Incentive and the Green Deal will operate side-by-side. Some technologies covered by the RHI will be eligible under the Green Deal as well. Work will be undertaken to further integrate the two schemes and how they are marketed.
  • A new Green Deal advice service goes live on 2nd April
  • Some of the hurdles to entry for providers have been removed or diluted. The requirements for Green Deal providers to have a surety bond in place prior to authorisation, for them to provide an independent conciliation service and to hold warranties for the length of the plan have been removed. Instead of the independent conciliation service “we are procuring a bespoke Green Deal Ombudsman to deal with any Green Deal complaints” – whatever that means!
  • The British Standards Institution recently published a new set of standards for Green Deal installers. Companies wishing to install measures under the Green Deal must be certified to this new standard.
  • There’s also mention of the Big Society (cringe!). With a expectation of collaborations within communities delivering change.

No mention of delays in launching the Green Deal, although DECC officials have recently been speaking of a phased launch or a slow start to the scheme.

The Green Deal next steps delayed

Looks like recent negative speculation over the Green Deal may be well-founded. We now learn that Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has confirmed that the secondary legislation for the Green Deal will be delayed.

The secondary legislation (the instrument through which the government is able to make changes to the law without having to pass a new Act of Parliament) was originally due in “early 2012” now it should be expected by the “summer recess” at the end of July – just two months before the 1st of October launch date of the Green Deal.

No explanation for the delay has been forthcoming.

Let’s hope that there is a chance that the Green Deal can still provide a cost effective, attractive solution to financing the environment enhancements that our housing stock is in need of. It looks like the politicians and big business are taking a bumpy route to getting there.

The Green Deal – stretching at the seams?

It looks like the politicians and energy companies are starting to pull at the seams of the Green Deal. The energy companies have delayed implementation of the funding framework that will underpin the Green Deal with its core concept of funding environmentally beneficial home improvements through energy bills. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are remaining silent in the face of calls to make correspondence about this issue a matter of public record – in response to Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger’s request Energy Minister Gregory Barker, commented that “we believe that release of this information would prejudice commercial interests“. It is thought that the energy companies are reticent about the scheme in its current form as they have to make extensive changes to their billing systems to handle Green Deal payments AND shoulder most of the risk of non-payment.

There are fears that improvements made through the Green Deal will end up costing homeowners more than equivalent improvements made without the Deal. This is due to the fees payable through the Deal and the commercial rates of interest charged on the loans upon which the Deal is built. Green Deal improvements will be paid for by loans that will then be paid off through energy bills.

Energy Minister Gregory Barker has rebuffed opponents, stating via Twitter that “…Energy Co’s obliged to start collecting #GreenDeal payments from Oct. Its the law!

Oh and in an update to yesterdays post, the planned launch date is the 1st of October 2012.

The Green Deal – update March 2012

With the Green Deal, due to be launched later this year, I thought that an update was in order since I last mentioned it back in March 2011.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) describe the Green Deal as follows:

The Energy Act 2011 includes provisions for the new ‘Green Deal’, which intends to reduce carbon emissions cost effectively by revolutionising the energy efficiency of British properties.

The new innovative Green Deal financial mechanism eliminates the need to pay upfront for energy efficiency measures and instead provides reassurances that the cost of the measures should be covered by savings on the electricity bill.

A new Energy Company Obligation will integrate with the Green Deal, allowing supplier subsidy and Green Deal Finance to come together into one seamless offer to the consumer.

(From the Department for Energy and Climate Change website – link earlier)

Dates are still a little vague being variously stated as autumn, October or late 2012.

An central concept to the Green Deal is that of a Green Deal Measure :

A Green Deal Measure is an “improvement” made to a property which has been financed through the Green Deal. This can include part-financing, where a customer has chosen to pay for some of the work themselves. However, there will be no standard Green Deal Measure or list of measures that are appropriate for every property. What is appropriate for a property depends on a number of factors including the work already done, the characteristics of the building and in some cases, the geographical location.

More detail can be found in the DECC document What measures does the Green Deal cover?

In other news…

I think it’s fair to say that George Monbiot in the Guardian is not a fan of the scheme

The green deal is a useless, middle-class subsidy. This deal is in no way green – it’s just one of the means by which money is being taken from the poor and given to the rich

Funding is becoming available, for example, The DECC has stumped up £3m and CITB-ConstructionSkills will provide a further £500,000 towards the training of insulation installers.

There are great aspirations for the number of jobs the Green Deal is likely to create; in March 2011 the Government announced its intention to fund up to 1,000 Green Deal apprenticeships. Longer term, the scheme will support an estimated 65,000 jobs by 2015.

In early March, it was announced that the Green Investment Bank, a new institution tasked with financing investments related to environmental preservation and improvement, would be based in London and Edinburgh. The Bank will play a key part in funding the Green Deal and other environmental initiatives.