The Green Deal has attracted both moral and financial support from the EU Commission this week. EU regulators have approved £600 million in public support for the scheme.
The Commission also gave their verbal approval, calling the Green Deal “a well designed way to achieve a common objective of improving energy efficiency.”
That is something which very much remains to be seen but this injection of funding should certainly help.
“The UK Green Deal allows consumers and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings without making huge upfront investments. This is another example of how our policy of state aid control can support private investment in energy saving and enhance competition at the same time.” – EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
The issue of competition or more accurately the danger of limiting competition was of concern to the Commission. This was particularly with reference to the involvement of the new UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) which will provide much of the finance early on. The Commission seems to be satisfied that the UK authorities intention to withdraw GIB involvement will allow in private investors and preserve competition.
The Commission has found that the scheme is aimed at an objective of common interest, namely improving energy efficiency, and that it is well-designed, making a significant contribution towards delivering this objective. Moreover, since most of the advantages derived from the scheme are passed on to end-consumers, the potential distortions of competition are limited as compared to the environmental benefits. Finally, the UK authorities have addressed initial concerns raised by the Commission about GIB’s involvement in the Green Deal by committing to ensure that GIB will withdraw from this market to the extent that private investors step in, thereby preserving competition.