Boost for micro-generation funding

The Government it set to almost double the money available for micro-renewable grants after high demand from householders, and lobbying from the renewables industry.

An extra £6.2m in grants for private households will now be up for grabs under the three-year Low Carbon Buildings Programme, which provides grants for householders, schools and businesses to install micro-renewable power sources like wind turbines, solar panels or even small-scale hydro.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks said: “Through the huge response to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme we have already allocated over £3m of grants to households installing microgeneration – the demand has been so great that this represents half the total household budget in only the first year of the programme.

“To enable it to continue this good work I am pleased to announce we are re-allocating a further £6.2m of the programme funding to the householder workstream. On projected demand levels this should allow us to operate the grant programme until mid 2008.

“By this time some of our wider measures to promote microgeneration should be taking hold, and we believe the sector will have matured to a point where householder grants are no longer the best use of our resources.

“I am keen that industry are involved in our plans and we will be discussing the details with them shortly,” he said.

The funding boost, which brings the money available for householder grants up to £12.7m, was welcomed by the renewables industry as a “swift response” to their lobbying.

Philip Wolfe, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “We have been warning the Government for some time that it needs to provide more financial support to match its warm words on household renewables. I wrote to the Minister two weeks ago and very much welcome this swift response.”

“Interest in domestic scale renewables has been growing very rapidly. This is one of the cornerstones of the Government’s microgeneration strategy, so it is vital that there is adequate funding to sustain the public’s enthusiasm.

“The industry has also been working flat out to increase this sustainable energy source, and the Association has launched the REAL code of conduct to promote high standards of products and customer service in the sector.”

More information on the Low Carbon Buildings programme can be found here.

Goska Romanowicz

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