‘Undercooked’ Green Deal could damage green investor confidence

The Managing Director of Liverpool-based renewable energy specialists Eco Environments, David Hunt, has warned Ministers that they face an uphill battle to convince businesses and consumers to invest in the “undercooked” Green Deal.

Speaking at the Energy Solutions summit in London, Hunt said: “The Green Deal was never intended as a driver for renewable technologies, that is the role of feed-in-tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive. But energy efficiency is critical for homes, businesses and UK PLC to reduce its carbon footprint and energy use. The Green Deal should be the ideal opportunity to support and address this issue, but we are facing a very undercooked policy becoming live and a Government that is not listening.

“The big problem is that not only could this be a massive economic wasted opportunity; it would once again spook investors from engaging with other essential renewable and energy efficiency projects.”

Referring to the legally-flawed cuts to the feed-in tariff, Hunt added: “It is not so much the tariff levels that have had such negative impacts, more the uncertainty caused in investors, from infrastructure scale to commercial and even domestic-sized projects. The battle between the Department of Energy and Climate Change, who have learnt lessons from the past, and the Treasury is making everyone uneasy.

“We need to see a Government listening to the industry and we need to a Treasury seeing the growth opportunities the CBI sees. Only then will we see the Renewable Revolution needed in the UK. It is already happening elsewhere the world over and we’re losing ground – and facing blackouts.”

Hunt’s comments follow the publication of a series of guides and step-by-step documents to help explain the Green Deal to the public. The Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, called the Green Deal, “quite simply Britain’s most ambitious home improvement programme ever” in his speech at the Conservative party conference yesterday.

Barker defended the energy efficiency scheme stating: “[The Green Deal is] available to everyone from home-owning pensioner to the student in a rented flat. Aspirational in its appeal, it will help people make their homes warmer, cosier and nicer places to live, offering home improvements, that to date have been completely out of reach to millions of families. That's the Conservative Green Deal we pioneered in Opposition and are delivering in Government.”

Despite being the Coalition’s flagship green policy, David Cameron failed to mention the Green Deal at all during his address to the Conservative Party conference. Indeed, the Prime Minister only made fleeting remarks around the green economy, praising the UK’s offshore wind and marine power markets.