A National Audit Office (NAO) investigation into the government’s scrapped Green Deal has branded the scheme poor value for money and accused it of failing to deliver on climate change promises
The £240 million flagship initiative, which offered loans to households for energy-efficient improvements, was criticised for failing to generate the expected additional energy savings.
In a statement the NAO said the scheme had achieved only around 30 per cent of the savings that previous initiatives had produced (see below).
Head of the NAO, Amyas Morse, said: ‘The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s ambitious aim to encourage households to pay for measures looked good on paper, as it would have reduced the financial burden of improvements on all energy consumers.
‘But in practice, its Green Deal design not only failed to deliver any meaningful benefit, it increased suppliers’ costs – and therefore energy bills – in meeting their obligations through the ECO [Energy Company Obligation] scheme.
’The department now needs to be more realistic about consumers’ and suppliers’ motivations when designing schemes in future to ensure it achieves its aims.’
Commenting on the report, RIBA sustainability policy adviser Emilia Plotka said: ’We need to urgently address the pending energy trilemma - energy security, climate change and fuel poverty. The government must stop cutting corners with its lacklustre efforts, and instead play a leading role through ambitious national energy efficiency programmes.
The Green Deal suffered from a lack of political support and investment
‘The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation suffered from a lack of political support and investment, and subsequently failed to offer a clear long-term vision for household energy efficiency while saving money.
’Reducing household energy demand remains the most cost-effective and permanent solution for saving money and meeting our legally binding commitment to reduce our carbon emissions.’
The NAO’s report comes just weeks after the cash-strapped Zero Carbon Hub announced it had ceased trading. The public-private body, founded in 2008 to tackle the Labour government’s target of making all homes zero carbon from 2016, struggled against ‘continuous back-tracking on green policy’.
Extract from NAO report:
’The [Green Deal] schemes have saved substantially less CO2 than previous supplier obligations, mainly because of the department’s initial focus on “harder-to-treat” homes, as its analysis showed that previous schemes had absorbed demand for cheaper measures.
‘The department expects the measures installed through Energy Company Obligation (ECO) up to 31 December 2015 to generate 24 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) savings over their lifetime, only around 30 per cent of what the predecessor schemes achieved over similar timescales.’