David Hunt, a director of Liverpool-based Eco Environments, says the Green Deal policy has variously been described to him as a “dog’s dinner”, “car crash” and “farce” by senior figures in the industry. “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,” Hunt said, speaking at the recent Energy Solutions summit in London.
“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.”
Hunt referred to the court defeats suffered by the Government in the past year over the reduction in feed-in-tariff levels available to homeowners and businesses keen to go ahead with solar PV installations. He told the summit audience: “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.”
A CBI report, The Colour of Growth: Maximising the Potential of Green Business, published in July this year forecast that a “smarter green policy approach could boost the UK’s economy by almost £20billion by 2014/15”. The report goes on to predict that without green businesses, the trade deficit in 2014/15 would be “double Government projections”.
Hunt commented: “We need to see a Government listening to the industry and we need to see 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.”
While Hunt is also Vice Chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s Onsite Renewables Sector Group, his comments do not reflect the association's own position. A spokesman for the association points out that until the Green Deal is finalised, its potential impact on renewables uptake cannot be determined.