Deputy chief executive angrily criticises energy companies for “pushing” high carbon energy.

Nick Johnson, the high profile deputy chief executive of the leading Manchester developer, has called for a ‘radical change’ to make energy companies encourage green living and micro-generation. Johnson, who is also a Cabe commissioner, was speaking at a sustainability conference organised by Building magazine.

After the event, he told the magazine: ‘The problem is that suppliers of energy are financially rewarded by us for consuming more. Therefore the default market position is to try to sell us more when we need to be consuming less. They need to be incentivised to sell less.

‘In my opinion, energy companies should be viewed as tobacco suppliers or drug dealers. If we viewed them with that level of stigma, then things would change pretty quickly... Lots of people think nibbling away at the edges is the answer. I’m suggesting a much more profound and significant change is needed. It’s crucial because it’s about protecting the environment.’

Johnson may be pleased to hear that UK Coal and renewable energy specialist Peel Energy have teamed up to build 54 wind turbines at 14 sites across the UK.

The two-year deal could provide up to £200m of work for contractors and lead to the development of 14 wind farms on former coal mining sites identified by UK Coal. The projects are in varying stages of development and have in total the potential to generate 133MW of electricity, or enough to power 80,000 homes.

Meanwhile, it emerged that just 22 developments have been certified under the Code for Sustainable Homes since it came into force a year and a half ago.

Speaking at a Home Builders Federation conference, Alan Yates, technical director at BRE said 22 schemes had received certificates between May 2007 and October 2008. He blamed the low figure on the length of time it takes to get certified – buildings can only get certificates after completion. He also said the figure is ‘expected to grow reasonably quickly’ as almost 3,000 schemes had registered for the code, many of which may apply for certificates in due course, reports Building magazine.