£125m Green Deal incentive receives sceptical welcome

A £125m government fund, announced today, to be made available to homeowners and businesses investing in energy efficiency improvements has received a mixed reception from organisations.

Under the Green Deal, to be implemented in January 2013, households who make improvements such as loft insulation, solid wall insulation and replacement windows could receive up to a £1000 cash back.

Head of Green Deal at energy efficiency agency, Climate Energy, Garry Worthington said:

“We have real concerns that when this £125m is spent and the cash-back incentive is withdrawn that there will be a slump in take-up of the Green Deal, and companies involved in carbon reduction like Climate Energy will be left to foot the bill of marketing the scheme to ensure its success.

“Instead of this short-term solution we would like to see more money spent on a nationwide marketing campaign by DECC that will demonstrate the long-term financial and wellbeing benefits of participating in the Green Deal, securing both the future of the scheme and of energy efficiency and carbon reduction in the UK.”

The Government has said that the cash back scheme will be on a first-come, first-served basis and while Consumer Focus has welcomed the move in general, it is also worried the scheme will be hampered by short-termism.

Consumer Focus director of energy Audrey Gallacher said:

“Improving your heating and stopping your home leaking heat can make a big difference to both your energy bills and your carbon footprint. It’s very welcome to see the Government providing cash incentives to those who take up the Green Deal scheme early. It’s also welcome that people don’t have to take out Green Deal finance to qualify.

“‘But the Government needs to provide incentives to all customers, not just early-adopters, to ensure wide-spread take-up in the long-term. This could mean moves such as council tax breaks or similar benefits for taking up energy efficiency measures.”

The time-sensitive offer is limited to one per household and can cover improvements as long as the householder is contributing to installation costs and the work is overseen by an authorised Green Deal provider.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said cash back rates, which also apply to private and social landlords, could be reduced after January.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said: “The Green Deal presents a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of this transforming market – and now is a critical time.

“Whatever your business does in this sector, the Green Deal will have an impact. So I say to businesses large and small – gear up, get training and get ready to take advantage of the Green Deal.”

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie