Energy efficiency can help to deliver energy security, climate change and affordability ambitions. The Government launched its flagship energy efficiency policies - the Green Deal and Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) - earlier this year and both will play an essential role in helping the UK to use energy more wisely. As a Committee, we believe that energy efficiency should be a priority for the Department and so we hope that the schemes will be a success. We intend to monitor the Green Deal and ECO over time. Our ongoing scrutiny will help to evaluate whether delivery is proceeding according to plan and, should any unexpected problems be encountered, to assist in developing remedies to get the programme back on track.
In order to provide effective scrutiny, we need to understand what the Government is hoping to achieve through the Green Deal and ECO, but there is some confusion about exactly what outcomes DECC is expecting to see. We were disappointed that the Minister was not able to give us a clear idea of what success would look like. We believe this is problematic because without this information, it will be impossible to tell whether delivery is happening according to plan, exceeding expectations or whether improvements are required. We hope that DECC will be able to provide greater clarity on this point.
We would also welcome more information about the Government's proposed methodology for its own monitoring and evaluation of the Green Deal and ECO. It is important to determine this soon, so that opportunities to record baseline data are not missed. There may also be scope for greater collaboration with other organisations, such as academic institutions and the energy companies themselves, which could help DECC's evaluation budget go further.
We have identified seven key areas where we believe scrutiny will be beneficial:
- public awareness and communications;
- take-up levels;
- energy and carbon savings;
- financial savings and value for money;
- access to the Green Deal and ECO;
- customer satisfaction; and
- supply chain and job creation.
We intend to use these topics as the basis for our future inquiries into the Green Deal. We have identified a number of key indicators under each heading that will be useful in our ongoing scrutiny. These are set out in full in chapter 3 of this report.
We very much hope that the Green Deal and ECO will be successful and that we can play a part in maximising their efficacy through our scrutiny of both programmes.