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Lord Barker and Ed Davey admit to Green Deal failures

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Ex-energy secretary Ed Davey and former energy minister Lord Barker have admitted to failures in the formation of the Green Deal, but stressed there is still a place for a pay as you save efficiency scheme in the UK.

The Green Deal was launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in October 2012 while both Davey and Barker served at the department.

The two were speaking at the Renewable Energy Association’s ‘Renewable Futures’ event yesterday evening, and Barker said that “countless hours” had been spent putting the scheme together, but admitted that mistakes had been made in its design.

Barker said one of the principal failures was that customers had “nothing to spend it on” and the technologies on offer didn’t offer the right value for money to tempt people into taking on Green Deal finance. He also stressed that despite repeated attempts, DECC could not “get the solar connection through” to potential consumers.

Davey meanwhile said that a key problem with the Green Deal was that it had “misled” people early on. He went on to state that while marketing claimed that Green Deal packages included no upfront costs, upon investigation just two of the 49 products available could be installed without paying something upfront.

Failures within the Green Deal’s design have been reportedly referenced at the energy and climate change select committee’s ongoing inquiry into energy efficiency in the home. The most common criticisms have focused on its complicated structure, while the Energy Saving Trust’s Philip Sellwood said that any mention of the programme had become “toxic” by the time it was culled earlier this year.

Davey added that “big mistakes” made early on in the process had meant that the department was “always pushing water up the hill”, but stressed his belief that a pay as you save scheme could still work in the UK as long as it had greater clarity for consumers.

Barker meanwhile said that he would put all funding towards the alternative Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and target improving housing stock in only the poorest areas of the country to be truly effective.

Since the Green Deal was closed earlier this year DECC has repeatedly hinted towards the emergence of a replacement scheme, which secretary of state Amber Rudd has said should be revealed early next year. Earlier this week chancellor George Osborne confirmed that ECO was to be extended beyond 2017 for a further five years, but its expenditure would be capped at £640 million per year to treat 200,000 homes.   

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