Communities urged to be more energy self sufficient

The Government has today (November 25) urged communities to become more energy self sufficient.

Greg Barker MP

Greg Barker MP

Climate change minister, Greg Barker, had called on towns and communities to come together to create their own renewable energy projects.

The minister, who made the call in a keynote address at the Combined Heat and Power Association's annual conference, said the plan epitomised the vision of the Big Society.

At the conference, Mr Barker launched a new website called Community Energy Online to help communities find out more about how to generate their own energy.

The scheme follows the Department of Energy and Climate Change's move earlier this year to scrap a ban on local councils selling electricity back to the national grid and aims to continue energy market reforms.

Mr Barker also said he hoped low carbon energy like combined heat and power plants (CHP), wind and water turbines or district heating networks would be taken up at a local level.

He said: "Community energy is a perfect expression of the transformative power of the Big Society.

"With the right combination of incentives and freedoms, community groups, businesses and organisations can get together to build a cleaner, greener future.

"With the right combination of incentives and freedoms, community groups, businesses and organisations can get together to build a cleaner, greener future.

"They can generate their own heat and electricity, and their own profits, and as a by-product, help the UK to save energy and help to cut carbon emissions."

The CHPA's director of sector trade association, Graham Meeks, welcomed the announcement adding: "This is not just a bold vision for the energy sector, but also a realistic and pragmatic one.

"It has the potential to unlock the enormous opportunity for CHP and district heating in homes, communities and industry across the country."

Greenpeace UK's chief scientist, Dr Doug Parr, said: "With the upcoming Energy Market Reform, Government has the chance to create opportunities for new players in the energy industry to drive efficiency and emissions reductions in Britain's draughty buildings."

Luke Walsh


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