Green Deals On The Horizon!

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Royal consent was given to the Energy Act 2011 on the 18th October 2011. The Act makes a wide variety of reforms dealing with energy and environmental issues.

The Green Deal


The key focus of the Energy Act is the Green Deal – a substantial government energy efficiency initiative. The Green Deal allows occupiers of domestic and non-domestic properties, (and private sector landlords), to receive finance for improvements which will increase energy efficiency. The repayments will be paid for by energy bill savings.

Energy Act 2011Although the Energy Act has become law, the Green Deal relies on a great deal of secondary legislation which is currently before Parliament. It is estimated that the first "green deals" will appear by autumn 2012.

Private Rented Sector – Energy Efficiency Requirements


The Energy Act allows the Secretary of State to make regulations regarding the energy efficiency of rented properties in England and Wales. The Secretary of State will have the power to ensure that a Landlord achieves a specific level of energy efficiency before the Landlord can let the property. The provisions will apply to both the domestic private rented sector (excluding social housing) and the non-domestic private rented sector.

The Energy Act also makes it easier for a tenant to obtain their landlord’s consent to make energy efficiency improvements. These provisions should take effect by 1st April 2016.

Other provisions


The Energy Act gives wide powers to the Secretary of State to oblige energy companies to act in a specific manner. For example, energy companies could be obliged to meet ‘home heating cost reduction targets’ for vulnerable groups of individuals.

The Energy Act also provides for the continued roll out of "smart meters" and to extend public access to the register of Energy Performance Certificates. Current off-shore renewable energy projects may also have their lifespan extended.

Conclusions


Although the Energy Act 2011 has received royal assent, a number of its provisions will not take effect without secondary legislation being introduced. Commentators have suggested that the current Government will find it hard to pass all of the secondary legislation within its timetable. The impact of the Energy Act 2011 therefore remains to be seen.


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