Government set to launch new energy efficiency initiative

The government announced plans earlier this week to launch a new Green Deal initiative designed to improve the energy efficiency of millions of UK homes.

The plans were revealed by Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne during his speech at the Economist UK Energy Summit. Huhne promised a £90 billion investment into the new energy efficiency drive, saying it would create thousands of jobs because 14 million wasteful homes would receive home energy efficiency improvements, like insulation.

The overall aim would be to cut the amount of energy households are using, reduce their energy bills and lower carbon emissions. Under the new scheme, energy companies, local authorities and even high street retailers will be given up to £6,500 towards insulating millions of homes classed as the most energy-wasteful.

The new initiative does not require householders to pay anything, because the money spent on improving their homes will be claimed back from the money saved in lower energy bills.

Huhne told the Summit this will help the UK’s economic recovery. He said, ‘The market is big. There are up to 14m homes in the UK which could benefit. We are working on the package for each home, which could unlock tens of billions of spending over many years.’

He added, ‘Energy saving is the cheapest way of closing the gap between demand and supply, yet it is the Cinderella of the energy ball. At the moment, we may as well be burning £50 notes outside our front doors.’

The new Green Deal will also provide extra help for vulnerable households, like those in fuel poverty or living in hard to heat homes which do not have cavity walls. The onus would be put on energy suppliers and local authorities to provide this additional support.

The government also wants the home improvements to be done by independent installers as well as the big firms like British Gas and EDF. Huhne stressed, ‘A competitive market will provide best value and confidence in products for the customer.’