Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Greg Barker's Webchat on GreenDeal Highlights

Greg Barker Webchat on the Green Deal 

Monday November 19, 2012

11:35 I would like to ask the Minister, why, after having been ‘launched’ over 6 weeks ago, are participating companies and householders still unable to undertake energy assessments (the pre-requisite for securing Green Deal Loans)? Surely this should have been sorted out months ago?
11:39 Greg Barker: 
Lets be clear. The Green Deal wasnt "launched" six weeks ago.The frame work went live on October 1st to allow companies to begin getting registered as Green Deal Assessors, the real "launch" as such will be 28 January when the first consumer finance plans can go live.However as more Assessors gain creditation and Green Dealm Providers begin marketing their services we 
expect the number of Assessments to rise.

1.Do we have any firm ideas of the GD interest rate yet? 
2.Do we know how many providers & assessors have registered yet? 
3.Are there any targets for the end of the first month? 
4.Sky News indicated this weekend that there had been no uptake on the cashback scheme. Do you have any comments on this?
11:44 Greg Barker: 
Hi Sarah, the interest rate is really important but it is not the only driver nof good value. We are working to deliver the lowest interest rate possible, much lower than typical consumer credit, and are working closely with the Green Investment Bank; but the actual rate will partly depend on the market.

11:49 When will GD Finance be available?
11:50 Greg Barker: That is an easy one. 28 January!

11:50 How long is the Green Deal likely to last? Would a change in government affect it?
11:52 Greg Barker: Hi David, Good question. 
This is a transformational new market for Energy Efficiency. We reckon that the huge challenge of retrofit plus the exciting growth of new cost effective measures and technologies means that the market will run at scale to at least 2030

11:56 I have not read or heard much in the Press etc about the Green Deal, what plans are there to communicate this initiative to the public?
11:58Greg Barker: 
For Chris's question, we have a major PR plan for 2013 but the biggest push will come from the diverse range of Green Deal providerts themselves. 

12:00 Do you have a total number of qualified GD assessors and GDAS / GDAO's to date and how many you would considered are needed?
12:03 Greg Barker: 
New Assessors are just starting to come through now, we have paid for training for the first 1000 assessors and 1000 installers, The first 247 installers have now been accredited but many, many more in the pipe line. 

12:04 Is there any guidance or regulation regarding this cost of a Green Deal Assessment and Report?
12:06 Greg Barker: 
This is clearly very important and we are going to be watching this very carefully but until the scheme really gets going, we wont have a good feel as it is for the market to set the most competitive rates. 
Any charges though will have to be declared upfront, and many GreenDeal providers are indicating they may offer them for free.

12:09 How many companies have registered as Green Deal providers so far?
12:11 Greg Barker: 
Hi Teresa, Only just starting to clear the process which i opened on October 1st but there are 12 companies through now with many, many more in the pipeline, expected through before Christ,mas. 
We published new GD Provider guidance on the DECC Website today, so do have a look at that too.

12:14 Greg Barker: Lots of people asking me about the Green Deal Assessor Software, including on Twitter over the weekend. 
It is being vaildated by the BRE as we speak and we are pressing them for this asap, as we know that a lot of you need it soon as possible, We should have it by the end of the month if not sooner

12:16 How will the industry be regulated to ensure consumers are not over charged for equipment, installation and interest rates? Is it down to the individual providers to set there own prices?
12:18 Greg Barker: 
Hi Paul, we have created a dedicated Oversight and Registration Body to govern and police the GreenDeal. But individual companies and providers will set their own prices and offers. Lots of healthy competition for the consumers business will be key to the market.

12:19 when does the Non_domestic green deal become available?
12:21 Greg Barker: Hello Paul, 
Non Domestic Green Deal for businesses, will spring to life on 28 January too, But this is a more complex market so we expect it to develop over the year. 
However I am really excited about thelong term potential for the Green Deal for Business to help overhaul our inefficient commercial, retail and industrial buildings

12:21 As mentioned in one of your previous answers "we have paid for training for the first 1000 assessors and 1000 installers". Who do we contact to get the benefit of this paid training?
12:24 Greg Barker: Hi Jay 
Fotr details of the Assessor Training please contact www.AssetSkills.org 
For Installer Training for solid wall installers please contact www.cskills.org

12:24 Hi Greg, Is it possible for a GD provider, assessor and installer to operate under one business entity?
12:26 Greg Barker: 
Hey Sam, Yes is the answer, it can be all under the same roof but lots of different providers will offer a variety of services, some in conjunction or in partnerships with other groups or companies.

Greg Barker: Lots of people asking about ECO, our new measure focussed on the fuel poor and hard to treat homes 
Energy Compnies can already start delivering against their ECO targets already but we want to open the market up further and will be consulting shortly on the ECO Brokerage

12:35 How will Govt ensure smaller builders/plumbers & builders merchants not squeezed out by big retailers & energy cos?
12:38 Greg Barker: Hello Arnold, 
SME's are key to delivering the nGreen Deal. They are by far the most trusted compoanies that people want to work in their home, especially for the bigger jobs when they are going to e left alone in the peoperty to get on with it. 
There are several different ways in which SMEs can particiapate but i think becoming a trusted partner of the Local Authority will be a big advantage.,

12:41 You mentioned that energy suppliers can already start delivering on their ECO targets, but without the necessary guidance from OFGEM to ensure compliance, the reality is that this is not happening yet. Do you know when we can expect this from OFGEM?
12:44 Greg Barker: Hi Helen 
The ECO guidance is due very shortly but OFGEM actually wrote directly to the Big Six last week spelling out the principles of how the ECO will work and you can view it on their website now.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Heat Conference 2012: Keynote speech by Edward Davey

The Department of Energy & Climate Change, UK Government has issued the following press release:
The Coalition Government is working to transform Britain’s energy landscape.
This month I will introduce the Energy Bill, which proposes the biggest reforms to Britain’s power sector since privatisation, aimed at bringing on around £110 billion of investment in new infrastructure by the end of the decade.
This transformation will be good for the economy, and will boost a sector that has excellent potential for growth both in the short term and well into the future.
It will be good for consumers, who will be better insulated from high and volatile fossil fuel prices.
And it will help us meet our carbon reduction targets as we deliver on our ambitious plans to decarbonise the economy.
I don’t apologize for focusing on electricity in the Energy Bill. In the hackneyed phrase, it keeps the lights on. And the challenges we face in electricity generation are crucial ones.
But I am not for a moment losing sight of the fact that almost half of the final energy consumed in the UK is used to provide heat.
Around three quarters of this is for heating buildings; the rest is in manufacturing processes.
Most heat currently comes from burning natural gas. And generating heat causes around a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions.
We do not hear enough about this part of the carbon equation. I intend to change that, so I am very pleased that the Energy Institute and the CHPA have organised this event.
We cannot meet our emissions reduction targets, or indeed our renewables targets, without tackling heat.
To meet our long-term climate goals, carbon emissions from buildings must eventually be near zero, and emissions from industry will need to be around a third of what they are now. That means changing the way we generate, distribute, and use heat.
Heat strategy
So in March, we published a Strategic Framework for Heat. This is a sensible plan, focussed on building a market for low-carbon heat, supporting economic growth and protecting consumers by taking cost-effective measures.
It considers how we will manage demand, change the way we heat buildings, set up heat networks, and realise the potential for efficient, low-carbon industrial heat. We will follow up this framework up with practical proposals to make it a reality – with a document we will publish early next year.
Our approach – starting with energy efficiency, encouraging low-carbon networks in urban areas and renewable heating in rural off-grid areas, and moving more slowly in the on-grid suburban areas – met with overwhelming support.
Energy efficiency
Starting with energy efficiency, as we do for all kinds of energy, is no more than common sense. As the US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has said, “energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit, it is fruit lying on the ground.”
We have launched the Green Deal, a radical new scheme which allows households and businesses to pay for energy efficiency measures such as insulation through savings on their energy bills.
I want the Green Deal to drive a new £10 billion market in energy efficiency, and to make a lasting difference to energy demand.
And on Monday, we launched the UK’s comprehensive Energy Efficiency Strategy, which sets out a path to radical improvements in energy efficiency.
By 2020 the UK could be saving 196 Terawatt-Hours of energy, mostly from more efficient heating and transport.
Consumers have a pivotal role to play. Relatively minor changes in the management and use of heat can significantly reduce bills. When multiplied across communities, cities and regions, the impact on our energy systems can be huge.
So in policy terms, I put demand first. But let me turn to heat supply.
We need to use low-carbon and renewable heat for our buildings.
Levels of renewable heating at present are incredibly low. We need to prime the renewable heat market, so that the supply chain builds up.
That’s why we have introduced the world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive for non-domestic heat, and the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme. We are currently consulting on RHI for homes.
Responses to our heat strategy included some helpful challenges on heat for buildings.
There were concerns about the reliance on electricity decarbonisation to achieve our heat targets, about the future of the gas grid, and on meeting peak winter heat demand.
My officials are currently working through these issues with industry, including many of those here today. I know that a number of the DECC heat team are here to participate in the rest of the day’s events, and these very questions are the ones that you will all be grappling with together.
We were also encouraged to do more on consumer behaviour, and of course we are very concerned about protecting the most vulnerable. We have commissioned social research in this area, and of course we are learning from our work on RHI, the RHPP scheme and the Green Deal.
On 1 November we announced the winners of the third and final strand of this year’s RHPP social landlords competition. We are now providing over £9m support, to a total of 132 projects.
This will result in nearly 5,000 renewable heating installations going into social housing over the coming months, helping tenants to stay warm, helping keep their bills down, and providing support to industry.
Heat networks
Heat is a local issue. Low-Carbon Heat networks, providing heat to dense urban areas, will be an important part of Britain’s energy future.
Up to half of the heat demand in England is in areas with high enough heat density to make heat networks feasible. But that doesn’t mean they will all be practical, or profitable.
We need to know more about the commercial realities and the barriers. Again, that is one of the purposes of today’s event.
As a long-standing proponent of localism, I believe this is one of the most exciting proposals in our strategy, and I look forward to announcing more on this in the spring.
I know that a great deal is happening already. I’m not only thinking of the potential district heating project in my own constituency.
Through our City Deals programme, we already helping cities to develop their plans for district heating.
Central government is not going to build their networks for them, clearly. But we know from the experience in London and from the ‘Big Offer’ that a small amount of help in the initial phase of a project can go long way.
It can help to move projects to the point of commercialisation – where the Green Investment Bank and commercial lenders can take up the reins, investing in heat network projects with profit-making potential.
And I can today announce that my Department will shortly be providing around £1 million to at least four cities – Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield – to undertake feasibility studies on exciting new district heating projects within their cities.
We hope to be able to extend this to other cities soon, as the Big Offer proposes. And we are also working with the Green Investment Bank to ensure that the projects can be taken to the next stage in the process.
London contains an example of the potential. The Greater London Authority is supporting 25 heat network projects. These have the capacity to leverage over £230 million of investment.
I’m grateful to the CHPA and its members for its engagement in this area and for the Big Offer proposals which have been published today.
This is a comprehensive range of measures, including some bold, no-regrets proposals. Such steps are needed to build confidence among consumers, to build capacity in the supply chain, and to build local capability.
I have asked my officials to work with the CHPA and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this work in March.
I am very positive about this programme. But I must mention the UK District Energy Association. When I want to speak to the big energy supply companies I can talk to a single body – Energy UK. But I cannot speak to a single body about district heating.
Many of the good ideas in the Big Offer – such as standardised documents, consumer codes and self regulation – would be much more powerful if they clearly had the backing of the whole industry. That is my challenge to you.
I’d like to turn to Combined Heat and Power. CHP capacity has already delivered significant energy and emissions savings, and provides around 7% of the electricity currently on the grid.
Decarbonisation of the grid will eventually cancel out the emissions-saving potential of natural gas fired CHP, but I am keen to try to find ways to bring forward new natural-gas-fired CHP capacity for as long it continues to deliver lifetime CO2 savings.
I am as keen as you are to bring clarity to policy in this area. That is why I have commissioned detailed costing and modelling work to understand the extent of the time window for fossil fuelled CHP, and to consider what would give the most benefit for least cost. This work will inform the March heat policy proposals.
In the meantime, the Energy Efficiency Strategy confirms the importance of CHP as an industrial energy efficiency measure, and indicates that natural-gas-fired CHP projects will be eligible for consideration for Green Investment Bank funding as a non-domestic energy efficiency measure.
CHP is also identified in the Energy Efficiency Strategy as one of the technologies that can further contribute to a more energy efficient society at both the micro and the macro level.
Renewable CHP of course has a longer-term future. We currently give CHP an up-lift through the Renewable Obligation mechanism, and our consultation on expanding the non-domestic RHI includes a CHP-specific tariff.
Industrial heat
Finally, I’d like to say a little about industrial heat.
Considerable progress has already been made in reducing the carbon intensity of UK industry. While industry has averaged growth of around 1% per year since 1990, emissions have reduced by 46%, which shows that carbon emissions and economic growth can be decoupled.
That transformation must continue. I want British industry to thrive and increase its international competitiveness, not despite the need to be greener, but because of it.
Going low-carbon can provide efficiency benefits and can drive innovation – and by developing new skills and engineering knowledge, UK industries can position themselves to seize business opportunities in the global low-carbon economy of the future.
The opportunity for innovation spans a range goods, services and forms of production. A strong UK industry helps us rebalance our economy away from the public and services sectors and back to manufacturing.
I don’t need to tell this audience that heat is used in a diverse range of industrial processes, over a wide range of temperatures.
We recognise that the demands for heat vary a great deal between different industries. And it follows that the potential for making carbon reductions and efficiency savings is also highly sector-specific. So we need to address the challenge and seek out the opportunities on a sector-by-sector basis.
In the new year, therefore, we will be working with industry and academics to understand and articulate routes to decarbonise each of the key industry sectors.
We need you to engage with us if we are going to make this credible. Can I use this platform to urge you all to contribute.
Heat poses some big policy challenges, but it also presents us with opportunities – opportunities to diversify our energy supply and hence improve our energy security, opportunities to drive growth and new investment, opportunities to innovate and create the low-carbon economy that will prosper in the future.
Government works best when it partners with industry, and I encourage you to keep in close contact with my officials as this work is progressed.
And I look forward to setting out our policy proposals in March.