Double blow to Green Deal

9 March 2012

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has  confirmed that six major energy firms - EDF, Scottish Power, Southern Energy, Npower, E.ON and British Gas - would not be ready to deliver the payment mechanism for the Green Deal from October, when the flagship scheme is due to launched. Instead the earliest date when the payment mechanism is likely to be ready is the “first quarter 2013” reports Building.

The payment mechanism is critical to the operation of the Green Deal as it enables consumers to pay for energy efficiency measures in their home through a charge on their energy bills.

Neil Cutland, director of sustainability consultant Cutland Consulting, told Building that the delay to the implementation of the payment mechanism risked undermining the roll out of the programme.

“I don’t see the point of [launching the Green Deal] at all without the payment mechanism,” he said.

However,John Alker, UK Green Building Council policy manager, said the delay would give time to “sort out teething trouble in the scheme”. A DECC spokeswoman said the move would not undermine the roll out of the programme, as people would only begin to take out Green Deal work in October, and it would take time for that work to be completed and for payments to then be collected.

Meanwhile, a report by skills bodies CITB-ConstructionSkills, SummitSkills and Asset Skills said that construction firms were reluctant to invest in training to plug skills gaps until consumer demand, through the government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme, had been proven.

The report found that while there were good generic skills in the industry, there was a need for more knowledge of the overall energy efficiency system in a building and skills to understand how different aspects are linked together.  

The report also found that an understanding of biomass, combined heat and power and small scale wind energy was lacking in over 40% of the workforce. The report came as the government announced it will put up £3.5m to train 1,000 Green Deal apprentices in preparation the launch of the scheme.

Elsewhere, Construction News reported that construction workers in smaller firms were unaware what the Green Deal is.  With just six months to go before the proposed introduction of the green retrofit scheme, smaller employers are yet to train staff for Green Deal work, amongst fears that they will be squeezed out of any work by the retail and energy goliaths linked with the project.

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