Government aims for locally generated energy boost

Communities and business are to be encouraged to generate their own electricity, in plans announced by the Government.

Greg Barker

Greg Barker

The Microgeneration Strategy aims to improve the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) process and cut red tape around the process.

Focusing on non-financial barriers to microgeneration the plan, published today (July 22) follows a public consultation which closed in March this year.

In good news following the scaling down of Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) subsidies the strategy accepts community renewable energy generation projects will be of varying sizes and could be up to 20MW in size.

But, it is clear that in the long term the Government wants to see an end to its financial incentives for renewables.

The strategy, therefore, puts the onus on the industry itself to make the most of the opportunities presented by the Government's funding schemes while it is available.

Climate change minister, Greg Barker, said: "I want to see a revolution in energy generation at a local level, giving genuine power to the people.

"We want to help people who are enthusiastic to generate their own energy matched by an industry with the desire, creativity and tenacity to grow in a sustainable and responsible way.

"That's why we have worked with industry to develop a clear way forward, which includes cutting red tape for micro hydro projects helping this industry to prosper."

The strategy sets out a number of actions with key deliverables, milestones, and responsibilities, based on the following work streams:

·Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) - maximising the effectiveness of the MCS scheme in ensuring high-quality design and installation of microgeneration systems and improve consumer confidence.

·Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) - creating a regulatory environment and assessment framework that enables accurate representation of contribution of microgeneration technologies to low carbon homes and buildings.

·Insurance and Warranties - enabling policy makers and industry to understand the consumer protection structure and suitably sign post schemes in policy.

·Skills and knowledge - ensuring there are sufficient levels of skills and knowledge in the industry to meet the demands of a rapidly growing sector.

·Technology - promoting a systems approach to microgeneration technology deployment, produce clear guidance on the various technologies, improving consideration for grid and connection issues, and encouraging a reliable market growth for microgeneration.

·Communities - the Green Energy Act 2009 includes definitive limits for microgeneration in the context of this Strategy, however, neither the domestic or community sectors strictly operate within such limits. In the final section we consider the read across from microgeneration to community scale and decentralised energy solutions.

Renewable electricity supplier Good Energy chief executive, Juliet Davenport, welcomed the strategy.

She said: "We welcome the recognition that community energy projects come in all shapes and sizes and could be as large as 20MW in capacity.

"However as the plan recognises, community energy is just one type of decentralised energy.

"Locally produced energy will have a key role to play in the future, not only in cutting emissions but also in improving our energy security and insulating consumers from price rises."

Luke Walsh


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