The Green Deal: explained by Energy Minister Greg Barker and Paul King of the Green Building Council. From a seminar at Ecobuild 2012
Green Deal – The Real Deal?
Greg Barker, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, was one of the biggest crowd pullers at Ecobuild. The Eco Experts went to see him speak on the subject of ‘Green Deal – The Real Deal?’ where he was pitted with/against Paul King, Chief Executive of Green Building Council.
Here’s what happened:
Paul King spoke first.
In a nutshell:
He represents industry, who are currently distrustful of Government after the mishandled feed-in tariffs. He was anxious to make The Green Deal work.
Paul King stressed that rebuilding trust between Government and the green industries as crucial to The Green Deal’s success. He described the PV feed-in tariff debacle as being ‘horrendously damaging to the industry…’ and that ‘the effect on the [PV] industry was simply vandalistic.’
King added that the industry needed to be set realistic targets: that give an idea in real terms of what the Government want from The Green Deal. The industry has to know that Government is backing the initiative fully this time, and will support businesses that change their model and invest in becoming Green Deal accredited suppliers or installers. he said.
Next came the Q&A’s
In a nutshell:
Greg Barker had been delayed (he had been at a party with or for the Queen!) so the Q&A’s were brought forward. The questions were angled at the feed-in tariffs and how industry is keen for guarantees from Government that the market won’t be swept from under their feet as with solar PV, after they invest in training and equipment.
The tone of the Q&A was bitter over the feed-in tariffs and frustrated that the Treasury ‘doesn’t get it,’ and have been acting against the interests of small businesses and the sustainable industry as a whole. Although small businesses believe in the spirit of The Green Deal they need to know they will get something out of it.
Paul King declared that he’d prefer the £200m Green Deal injection fund to go towards organising a system by which council tax and stamp duty are linked to home efficiency (Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC, ratings).
When Greg Barker arrived
In a nutshell:
He declared Government’s green ambitions, and claimed the Green Deal has the potential to kickstart British industry and innovation, that Government is working closely with SME’s (small/medium enterprises), and that this is all an example of The Big Society coming to fruit on the vine. He closed by explaining The Green Deal will be gradually rolled out from Autumn.
Greg Barker began by calling this ‘the greenest Government ever’, dedicated to bringing eco-efficiency to the mainstream consciousness and building the industry to support this new way.
The Green Deal, he says, is an unprecedented ‘catalyst for innovation’ that will transform the energy landscape over the next 20 years. He emphasised that ‘community is key to success,’ though didn’t make clear quite what that meant, though he mentioned how important it was that The Green Deal was about more than saving carbon – it should be about improving homes and domestic environments. For this you have The Golden Rule, which states that savings must exceed the payments.
Greg Barker described his vision of The Green Deal integrating every part of the green industry to provide one complete package for the home. Although he didn’t explain how Government would be spending the £200m, he announced that on the 2nd of April they’d release more information for customers.
As for suppliers, Barker claimed Government was working with SME’s to keep costs as low as possible and red tape to a minimum. As a ‘how to’ guide they’ll provide a ‘Green Deal Provide Guide’ and invest £3.5m in provider advice and training. The Green Deal is one of Government’s instruments of change: driving innovation and sustainability, and bringing about the ‘Big Society’ by supporting local businesses.
Greg Barker announced that The Green Deal would breathe life from 1st October as planned, but it would be rolled out gradually. The philosophy of the Green Deal is that the free market, not Government, will make it work. A slow steady growth is to be expected, Barker concluded.
*In another Green Deal talk we went to, it was revealed that The Green Deal would take several more months to be available in full across the UK*