Osborne confirms ECO replacement

George Osborne has announced a £250 nuclear research and development programme, as well as a replacement to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme in his 2015 Spending Review.

Speaking today in the House of Commons, the Chancellor said the ECO scheme will be replaced from April 2017 with a new “cheaper domestic energy efficiency supplier obligation” which will run for five years. 

In the Spending Review document, the Treasury said the new scheme will upgrade the energy efficiency of over 200,000 homes per year, saving those homes up to £300 off their annual energy bill.

The document also confirms the Government will shortly publish its reponses to recent consultations on the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariffs.

“If the proposals are implemented, this will save the average household around £6 and the average small business user £500 on their fuel bills,” states the Spending Review document.

The Chancellor also announced today the Government will extend the Warm Home Discount to 2020-21 at current levels of £320 million a year, rising with inflation.

The Government will also invest at least £250 million over the next five years in an ambitious nuclear research and development programme and increase funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive to £1.15 billion by 2020-21.

In addition, Mr Osborne said the Government will also commit up to 10% of shale gas tax revenues to a Shale Wealth Fund, which could deliver up to £1 billion of investment in local communities hosting shale gas developments.

The Head of Sustainability at property and construction consultancy Tuffin Ferraby Taylor, Mat Lown, commented: “The Green Deal has been neatly removed from the Chancellor’s lexicon with no successor in place. 

“And we will be watching very carefully to see if the proposed cuts at the Department of Energy and Climate Change impact upon the delivery of measures designed to improve energy security, reduce energy consumption and deal with carbon emissions. This a tall order for a government department under financial siege.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues