Good intentions all around in Northern Ireland where a rainbow coalition of institutions is calling for a Green New Deal, centered around energy efficiency and renewable energy for private residences and public buildings.

The key enablers appear to be grants and a “pay as you save” scheme, and the target is to reach tens of thousands of households and also public buildings. The initiative should reduce energy bills for all concerned, and create new productive jobs.

If only America, the EU and China took a leaf from Northern Ireland’s book. This Green New Deal is real “stimulus” unlike all the pork projects, the road building, or the loose money that creates one asset bubble after another.

From Reuters, Nov 2, 2010: Under a proposed plan called the “Green Deal”, government-accredited insulation installers will make improvements such as loft or cavity wall insulation to homes and businesses for a fee, which homeowners or renters will pay in instalments.

The cost of each instalment will be deducted from energy bills and will be limited to the savings that the homeowner makes from the new insulation.

“At a time of increasing gas prices, energy efficiency is a no-brainer,” Britain’s Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“It’s also a massive economic and job opportunity, which could help Britain’s economy turn the corner.”

GCL comment: one look at the chart below, and one can see why Britain’s Energy and Climate Change Minister calls energy efficiency a no-brainer:

Following the peak and decline of natural gas production from the North Sea, the UK's imports of natural gas increased by 13% in 2009