Central Parts of the Green Deal Scheme

The Green Deal is a UK initiative which promotes a range of energy-efficient programs aiming to lower the use of energy consumption in poorly insulated properties, which should help cut the cost of the monthly utility bills. Some of the benefits open to those able to take part in this scheme include under floor heating, solar panels, floor insulation, draught proofing, loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, and much more.

Once permitted to join the energy-efficiency scheme a homeowner will be pleased to learn that there aren’t any upfront fees required. Rather then pay upfront fees it will be possible to benefit from the Green Deal financing program, which means that any energy-efficient schemes put in place will be paid back through a charge added to the customers monthly or quarterly electricity bills, which is repayable over a predetermined time. The Green Deal is applicable to all property owners irrespective of personal circumstances and isn’t means tested.

In the process of applying for the Green Deal scheme there are three central parts to complete:

Assessment:

Firstly a dedicated Green Deal inspector will make a visit to either the business or private home which is hoping to apply for a part in the energy efficiency scheme. The aim of this inspection is to conduct a detailed Energy Performance Survey (EPS), which will then be discussed with the occupier/owner of the property. If everything is found to be acceptable a completed Advice Report is issued and a full plan compiled for the client.

Financing:

With the full plan approved, it will then be possible to request that the necessary action is taken to make the Green Deal finance package available. Finances for this scheme aren’t paid direct to the property occupier but instead gets paid to a preferred energy efficiency installer involved in working on this scheme. Any loft or cavity wall insulation will need to the installed in strict compliance to the code of this scheme to be sure of receiving the required funds.

Installation:

Once everything has been agreed and arranged with the installation team, they will then visit the private or commercial property to start working on the installation of the required energy efficiency improvements. All financial related matters for this home improvement work have already been sorted out with the installer via the Green Deal inspector so there is no need to get involved with this particular matter personally.

Green Energy Options

Not all of us have the luxury of living in parts of the UK where gas is easily available. While it is true that gas is currently the most efficient and cheapest form of energy for heating the home, many of us rely on electricity and perhaps supplement this with oil. For these people choosing the right energy supplier is crucial, both in terms of getting the best deal financially, but also for making sure that carbon emissions are kept to a minimum.

Electrical heaters such as radiators are a great alternative or additional source of heating for most homes and if you happen to be on a green tariff with your energy supplier you will also be helping with reducing carbon emissions. It is a win win situation. So what green energy tariffs are available and how do you ensure that yours is truly green and worth the extra effort?

How does it work?

Green energy suppliers purchase energy which is carbon free or carbon neutral and sell it on to their customers using a green tariff. Examples of this energy may be wind turbines, solar power, hydroelectric, biomass or nuclear. In the UK these sources of electricity account for around 7% of all available energy, but this figure is steadily rising. The government is also behind this move towards renewable forms of energy and has set a target of 30% of the UK’s electricity needs coming from renewable sources by 2020.

Energy companies need to adhere to the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme which is designed to ensure that customers are not being mis-sold when it comes to greener energy options. This means that the tariffs are independently checked and that they meet green energy supply guidelines as laid out by Ofgem. They must also show that they have purchased enough renewable energy to supply all of their green tariff customers.

Energy suppliers can meet the Ofgem guidelines by also either off-setting their own carbon production, providing energy saving measures for their customers such as insulation or investing into a green fund used on community buildings.

The down side

This all sounds great, but it is worth noting that while the energy supplier may be selling renewable energy to you, they could be reducing the amount which is available to other customers at the same time. The overall mix of energy does not change.

The energy companies are expected to produce a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources, however some will agree to do more than this and sell it at a special “renewable” rate to their green customers. In the UK there are no suppliers who provide 100% green electricity. There is no guarantee that your electricity will come from a renewable source, but simply that your supplier is buying in the required percentage to cover your needs.

Still worthwhile?

It is true that going for a green tariff doesn’t mean you will only buy renewable energy – but it certainly shows willing. If more UK energy users decided to sign up to green tariffs, the renewable industry would be in a position to offer more of this technology. If you decide to use electricity as your primary source of heating for your home, opting for a green tariff is just one of the steps you can take to keep your carbon footprint as low as possible.

Global Surge in Green Energy Investment

Reports released in July by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), have revealed that global investment in the green energy sector has witnessed a significant boost. However, this information has been somewhat marred following the release of a Bloomberg report indicating that the fossil fuel industry enjoys a far greater share of government subsidies in comparison with the renewable energy sectors.

The twin reports from the UN and the REN21 conclude that in 2009, renewables accounted for 60% of newly installed energy resources in Europe, with the figure for the USA sitting at 50%. In addition, new private and public sector investments in new renewables and biofuels rose by 53% in China last year, with the country adding 37 GW of renewable power capacity.

This dramatic increase in China’s renewable energy capacity coincides with the news that they have overtaken the US in terms of energy consumption. Over the past decade, China’s use of coal, oil, wind and other power sources have more than doubled.

This trend bucking also featured in the UN and REN21 reports, with suggestions that total investment in renewables increased in 2009. Although investment in new renewables, biofuel and energy efficiency decreased by 7%, there was record investment in wind power. In the USA, the American wind power industry added 39% greater capacity, with almost 2% of the country’s electricity being derived from wind turbines.

Although the global investment figures appear to have risen in terms of the increased renewable energy capacities of many countries, a report compiled by analysts Bloomberg provides a damning overview of government commitments to the development of the renewable energy sector.

The report concluded that in 2009 governments provided $43 and $46 billion worth of global subsidies to the renewable energy and biofuel industries. This was dwarfed by the $557 billion allocated to the fossil fuel industry the previous year.

It is believed that the lack of funding for renewables from investors is due to a visible lack of direct government funding. However, it seems that more subsidy schemes are appearing in various countries with the aim of providing the support needed for the continued development of green energy alternatives.

In the UK and in Germany for instance, a feed-in tariff offers financial incentives for those willing to employ small wind turbines as a means of powering their house or small business. Such subsidiary schemes are a significant factor if the G20 countries are to fulfill their pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.