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Green Deal scheme closes after DECC pulls the plug on extra funding

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The Green Deal scheme has been closed to all new applications this afternoon after the Government ruled out further funding of the Green Deal Finance Company.

Concerned about the low take-up and poor industry standards, Energy Ministers decided to call time on the troubled scheme saying the move would protect taxpayers. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd also announced that the Government will stop any future funding releases of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

The Government says it will now work with the building industry and consumer groups on a new value-for-money approach. The decision has no impact on existing Green Deal Finance Plans or existing Green Deal Home Improvement Fund applications and vouchers.

Amber Rudd said: “We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses – which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal.

“It’s now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works.

“Together we can achieve this Government’s ambition to make homes warmer and drive down bills for 1 million more homes by 2020 – and to do so at the best value for money for taxpayers.”

The Government has commissioned an independent review led by Peter Bonfield to look at standards, consumer protection and enforcement of energy efficiency schemes and ensure that the system properly supports and protects consumers.

Current Government policies including the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme will continue to provide support this year to low-income and vulnerable households.

DECC says it will work in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government to improve the UK’s existing housing stock. The longer-term future of the Energy Company Obligation scheme will be part of these discussions around a new, better-integrated policy.

In a statement, the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) said it will no longer be able to quote for further Green Deal Plan applications. It announced that it will cease accepting applications for new Green Deal Plans with immediate effect from 3.30pm on 23rd July.

This is to ensure that sufficient funds exist to support those applications that have been lodged in recent weeks and are already being processed. GDFC intends to purchase all eligible applications which were booked in its systems.

All customer repayments under existing Plans will continue as normal into the future. The decision was taken in response to the review by Department of Energy and Climate Change of energy efficiency policy and the subsequent decision not to increase the size of the current commercial loan between GDFC and DECC.

Mark Bayley, Chief Executive, Green Deal Finance Company said: “The most important thing at the moment is for us and the Department to reassure those who currently have Green Deal finance plans in place and those with approved applications, that today’s announcement does not change anything for them.

 “We have taken this step to make sure we can meet all our expected liabilities and to have an orderly run-down of new business, while protecting existing plan holders and those whose applications are eligible and have been approved.

 “We appreciate that the government must review its energy efficiency priorities and we are grateful to DECC for its considerable support over the life of the GDFC. We are also proud of what has been achieved in only a relatively short time: our business has grown from its inception two years ago to over £60 million in plans and applications today.

 “We have more than met our mandate of creating a national infrastructure for a Pay-As-You-Save scheme.”

Mark Bayley went on to the praise the entrepreneurship of a new generation of SME energy efficiency firms that support the Green Deal. He added: “Our network of small and medium size firms – the 70 Green Deal Providers – have done a fantastic job of making the Green Deal work. Our very strong growth over the past year has been driven by their efforts and investment.

 “We’ve also provided over £75 million in trading lines to our small business partners over the last two years. My priority now is to ensure an orderly closure to new business and to fund eligible plans already submitted by the Providers.”

Martin Callaghan, Chairman of the GDFC, added: “We are obviously disappointed that we cannot develop the Green Deal further but I would like to thank Mark and the GDFC team for their herculean efforts to make the programme work.

 “It is a real achievement that they have built demand to £60m of Green Deal finance plans and applications in the two years since the first Green Deal Plan was purchased.”

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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