Here is a transcript of a speech by Ed Davey, The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, at Eco-Build 2013 on 5 March.
"Well thank you Emily and thank you ladies and gentlemen. I have to say that as I walked through the conference hall, I was really uplifted and motivated inspired by how many people are here exhibiting, how many people are wanting to see what UK industry has to offer in this space. So well done to everyone who has organised Eco-Build, I hope you’re going to go from strength to strength, you’ve clearly made a fantastic start
I want to briefly set out our approach to Energy Efficiency... and specifically… about the Green Deal and the Renewable Energy Obligation. I’m absolutely delighted that Industry from the the UK Green Building Council, the industry leaders are meeting tomorrow to discuss sustainability in the built environment. Industry’s views in this area are extremely important and I want you to make sure your voice is heard loud and clear.
But my key message today is this: we the government are setting out to create a market in energy efficiency that will over time create jobs, provide opportunity in every part of the construction industry. Energy efficiency will be a huge boost to your firms. But it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to be a long term transformation. If the market takes off so will those opportunities take off. Not just in the UK but there is an increasing export market in energy efficiency too. I want you and your firms to be ready to take advantage of that, because this is a joint endeavour.
We’ve actually worked very well together. Those of you that have been involved in designing the Green Deal, government and industry, have done well to get this far. But we’ve going to need to stick together to make sure we build the momentum and here today in this hall and throughout this exhibition are the people who have the answers to many of the difficult issues we are working through together.
To succeed, we will need to leverage your expertise, your reach with customers, your advertising capacity, your experience of what works and what doesn’t. Together, we need to get this right to help people struggling with rising energy costs, to help get the economy moving again and to be part of the climate change solution. And I want to take each of those three key objectives in turn, starting with climate change.
Many of you know that heating and powering our building stock is responsible for almost 40 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions, 40 per cent. Those emissions must come down if we are to help tackle climate change. Be in no doubt, climate change is a real and present danger. It is already happening now and it will only get worse if we don’t act. Energy efficiency [and] demand reduction are only a part of the response but they are a very important part.
If we get this right, as my department’s plan sets out, we could reduce carbon emissions from buildings by between a quarter and two-fifths by the middle of the next decade. This will go a long way to making Britain part of the climate change solution and not part of the problem.
The second reason we need to get this right is to help people struggling with the rising costs of energy bills. Domestic gas prices increased by an average of just under an average of just under eight per cent in the last months of 2012 on the back of a sustained rise in gas prices over the last five years. And, with the economic situation as it is we have to help people who are struggling to keep up.
The government can’t control wholesale prices in a global gas market. Gas demand is booming to fuel emerging economies like India and China to replace nuclear power that Japan has turned off and Germany has turned its back on. Even shale gas revolution won’t help to get global gas prices lower. So, the best way to help the fuel-poor in Britain is to help all those faced with high energy bills be they businesses or people is to reduce the amount of energy we need to use. If we get this right, people will have warmer homes for less, with lower bills than would have otherwise been the case.
And the third reason why we need to get this right is because there is a huge positive business opportunity out there. An opportunity for green growth, creating green jobs, creating new green businesses, growing green market, growing green prosperity. The energy efficiency sector already accounts for around 136,000 jobs and the sector is likely to expand by around five per cent a year. With the Green Deal and the Renewable Energy Obligation, we have the tools to open up the energy efficiency market. The cumulative value of finance for the Green Deal is projected to be over a billion pounds by 2015.
And remember what I was talking about… Allowing the construction industry as it engages with energy efficiency to have a new form of credit open to all their customers and potential customers. It’s that new credit function I think which will have help all small, medium and large-sized businesses. Because by 2015, we expect to see Eco- and the Green Deal together result in over one million separate pieces of home improvement work. A lot of the work will be labour intensive which means new jobs, over 30, 000 in the insulation sector alone. Just look at the size of the market: almost eight million homes needing solid wall insulation, 5.5 million that haven’t had cavity wall insulation, over six million that could get loft insulation. And actually, this is just the tip of the iceberg: there are over 40 different types of home improvements that can be made under the Green Deal using this new credit function.
And we may be interested in the prospect of the Green Deal globally. Let’s face it, we’re ambitious. I’m consistently asked how the Green Deal is developing by my counterparts in over governments, not just in Europe but around the World. If in the UK we grow the Green Deal, we grow this market opportunity profitability and sustainably, I believe this is a business opportunity not just here but energy efficiency has the potential to be a growth export market for British business as well. So what is the government doing to get this market going? Well as part of the kick-start to last month’s launch, we will £22 million Green Deal cash-back scheme to encourage early take up and we launched a £3 million Green Deal communications campaign which will run until April this year to help get advertising off the ground and raise awareness.
How’s it all going? Well we’re going to report formally on the Green Deal through official government statistics. The plan is to issue monthly and quarterly reports starting this spring. These will enable people to see how the supply chain is developing and see the progress on take-up, for instance through the number of assessments that have been undertaken. Over time, we’ll be able to add in more information to show how the Green Deal is contributing to its planned objective of reducing carbon emissions and saving on energy bills. And because these are official statistics, I’m afraid there are legal restrictions on what I can say before formal publication, but there are a number of positive signals I can share with you today.
In terms of the trade, there are already 40 approved Green Deal providers. These are the big companies, the networks that have been approved to oversee things. There are 75 assessor organisations registered and over 600 installer organisations too. And we know from talking to these bodies, talking to these people, there is a good pipeline of work already. So even in these early days there are good signs of growth and a market in the making. To finish, let me come back to what I said in the beginning: this is a long-term transformation we are talking about. Of course in some cases the life of the Green Deal could extend up to 25 years, but the benefits and the emission reductions can felt immediately.
That’s why this needs to be a joint endeavour, working together, we need you to be part of the Green Deal megaphone, help us get you get this market going. Help us get you working on people’s homes, replacing their boilers, insulating their homes, double-glazing their windows and as a result, lowering their bills and lowering their carbon emissions. I know that for you this needs to make business sense and that’s why if we are creating this marketplace for the green growth, green jobs and green profits I talked about. If we work together we will succeed and it will be a fabulous achievement to help people reduce those bills, grow the economy and save the planet at the same time and I hope that sounds like a good deal. I hope you’re in."
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