Mixed reactions as Green Deal figures reveal 1,800 assessments in first month
The Government has revealed today that more than 1,800 assessments have been carried out in homes and businesses since the Green Deal scheme launched in January.
According to the first statistics on the Green Deal, £26.9m worth of contracts has been traded through the Green Deal's Energy Company Obligation (ECO) brokerage system since the launch of the scheme.
The Government has said the figures are encouraging, while Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said they showed clear signs of a promising new market gathering momentum.
"In little more than a month, there have been 1,803 Green Deal assessments and that shows genuine interest from consumers. Some householders in older properties, and those on benefits or low incomes may qualify for extra financial assistance from the new Energy Company Obligation, and this has also started really well with £26.9 million worth of contracts signed," he added.
"We have created the Green Deal to overhaul our inefficient housing stock and help people keep their homes warm, while also reducing their energy bills. And as the market builds an awareness of the Green Deal increases, I am confident that consumer interest will grow and grow".
Davey was particularly upbeat about the increasing involvement from business and the opening up of skilled jobs through the Green Deal.
"The number of businesses getting on board is increasing daily - highlighting the growing confidence that the Green Deal offers fantastic new opportunities. 40 firms are already authorised as providers, with a further 629 registered to carry out installations and 619 individuals registered to offer assessments. This underlines that the Green Deal is very much up and running."
Those in the building industry have also welcomed the news that the Green Deal has had a reasonably strong uptake since its inauguration but some have also expressed concerns over the future of the scheme.
Commenting on the figures, director of policy and communications at UK-GBC, John Alker, said: "The rising number of accreditations show that businesses are seeing a real opportunity in this market. And we must remember that each training course, assessment, and installation is helping industry to gain experience and build capacity that will stand the scheme in good stead for the years to come.
"However, the initial rush provided by these early projects, and the subsequent take-up driven by the cash-back scheme is likely to prove unsustainable in the long-term if Government fails to put in place lasting, structural incentives. We would hope to see proposals in this respect included in next week's budget."
The statistics have also been questioned by those closer to the scheme. Director of the Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) at Anglia Ruskin University, Dr Aled Jones, who has carried out a Green Deal survey for the Government to determine how interventions can be effective in increasing uptake and which incentives are most attractive told edie that the 1,800 assessment figure was promising but explained that a number of free scheme pilots have been put in place in various cities, which Jones claims were meant to carry out 200-300 assessments.
Jones added that he was not sure how many pilots have been carried out but questioned whether the pilots were "on course" and pointed out that if five or six pilots have been introduced the 1,800 figure could quickly become less impressive.
The scheme has received a barrage of criticism before and after its launch, particularly for its high interest rates and lack of marketing. This has driven the Government to continuously call on industry to push the scheme.
Last week, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey told delegates at Ecobuild that Government and business would need to "stick together to build momentum" leveraging industry's expertise, contact with customers and, crucially, its advertising spend to ensure the success of the Green Deal scheme.
However, this week the Green Deal made a landmark deal as Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced that the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) had signed a deal with the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to release £244m of funding.