Huhne outlines details of Green Deal scheme

A consultation on the Green Deal was launched today, outlining plans to stimulate billions of pounds of private investment home energy improvements over the next 10 years. However, Mr Huhne also said energy prices would rise by some 27% by 2020.

Published as part of his Annual Energy Statement to Parliament, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said £14bn of private investment would not only mitigate some of the effects of energy price rises, but would also create thousands of jobs in the insulation and construction sector.

Today’s consultation outlines three main benefits of the proposed Green Deal framework, which would be launched from October next year.

Firstly, homes and businesses in Britain will have access to finance to install energy-saving technologies, with no upfront outlay and repayments made over time when savings are being made

Secondly, the scheme will be funded in part by the six dominant energy providers in the UK who will provide £1.3 billion a year.

Thirdly, it should act as the catalyst for around £14bn of private sector investment over the next decade. And, unlike with previous insulation schemes, the government has undertaken to include new safeguards to “help small family firms as well as big high street names become involved”. Mr Huhne said his department estimated the Green Deal could support “at least 65,000 insulation and construction jobs by 2015”.

Mr Huhne also unveiled new analysis that found the Government expected its own policies to contribute to a 27% rise in the cost of energy between now and 2020. However, it said that overall average household energy bills will be 7% lower under current plans, equating to a £94 saving per annum. Those savings are to be acheived through energy-efficiency measure such as those outlined in the Green Deal.

In an emotive speech Mr Huhne said: “The Green Deal is about putting energy consumers back in control of their bills and banishing Britain’s draughty homes to the history books. By stimulating billions of pounds of private sector investment, the Green Deal will revolutionise the way that we keep our homes warm, making them cosier, more efficient – and all at no upfront cost.

“The Green Deal is also a massive business opportunity for firms up and down Britain, helping to power the economy and creating jobs. From one-man bands and local authorities, to the big supermarkets and DIY stores, we want as many providers getting involved as possible because that’s what will give consumers the best deal.

“I want to insulate Britain’s homes not just from the cold weather, but also from the chill winds of global fossil fuel prices. It’s these that are pushing up consumer energy prices, and it’s why our balanced package of policies aimed at achieving energy savings and shifting to more home grown alternatives is the right one for the economy and all of us who pay energy bills.

“There are certainly costs to replacing our ageing energy infrastructure with modern, clean power stations, and we take very seriously any impact of our policies on what consumers and businesses pay. We’ve repeatedly taken steps to reduce this – by removing some planned levies on bills and making others more cost effective and within budget.

“But a crucial – and too often ignored – priority of our whole strategy is to reduce the amount of energy we use in our homes.”

Will Parsons

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