The government’s flagship programme to upgrade the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes, the Green Deal, could fail, warns the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) yesterday. In the latest attack on government policy from its own advisor, an open letter from the Committee chair Lord Adair Turner to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne expresses concern about the details of the Green Deal.
The scheme will allow homeowners to take out loans to pay for energy efficiency measures, which will be repaid through the savings made on their energy bills. But the letter points out that while up to 6 million lofts and 6.3 million cavity walls still remain to be insulated, the government’s own figures predict just 700,000 lofts and 1.7 million cavity walls will be treated under the Green Deal.
The Committee criticises the government for its “low ambition”, warning that low uptake of such basic energy efficiency measures under the Green Deal could jeopardise the government’s carbon emission reduction targets. Meeting the UK’s first four carbon budgets rely on all lofts and cavity walls being insulated over the next decade, and their installation is needed to support the rollout of renewable heat during the 2020s.
The Committee warns that the Green Deal represents an inefficient use of funds, which could be better spent supporting the improvement of hard-to-treat properties with measures like solid-wall insulation. The government should build on its success in insulating lofts and cavity walls under the current Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) policy and extend the scope of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to include the full potential of loft and cavity wall insulation, says the Lord Turner.
Rather than leaving it to the market, the government should reinforce the obligation within energy companies to help their customers improve their energy efficiency.