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Can the Green Deal be fair too? Exploring new possibilities for alleviating fuel poverty


Energy efficiency and social programmes have failed to stem the dramatic increase in the number of fuel poor households in recent years. As the 2016 deadline for eradicating fuel poverty nears, energy efficiency and fuel poverty programmes are undergoing significant changes. The ambitions for Britain's Green Deal, the overhaul of supplier obligations alongside the winding down of Warm Front, and the introduction of an incentive for renewable heat combine to form a sea change in how energy efficiency and fuel poverty objectives are financed and delivered. Green Deal Finance (GDF) eliminates the up-front capital cost of energy efficiency measures to the household by linking repayments to energy savings and spreading them over many years. This paper asks whether and how GDF could be beneficial to fuel poor households. Using scenarios modelled on the English House Condition Survey, it explores the extent to which fuel poverty could be reduced, allowing for repayments incurred by GDF. It examines how much further fuel poverty could be alleviated were the capital cost subsidised or repayments supported, and concludes that a flexible design for GDF is necessary if it is to contribute to alleviating fuel poverty