Tories light the way to microgeneration

The Conservatives have unveiled plans to encourage businesses and households in Britain to generate their own electricity.

In a speech to Greenpeace members, David Cameron said the party wanted to give “power to the people” and enable the UK to produce cleaner, more secure energy.

A paper setting out how homes and businesses could switch to microgeneration recommended introducing a system of feed-in tariffs to allow individuals and organisations to be paid a fixed price for the electricity they produce.

Mr Cameron said the introduction of a feed-in tariff system in Germany has resulted in the swift growth of renewable energy and the creation of over 250,000 jobs in the wind energy sector alone.

The paper also urged the introduction of clearer rules on installing microgeneration devices such as wind turbines, and called for the costs of decentralising energy to be met using the revenues from auctioning permits from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Introducing the paper, Mr Cameron said: “I know that the Labour government pays lip service to decentralised energy, but really it has only tinkered at the edges.

“There’s still a big ‘government knows best’ attitude – straight out of the bureaucratic age – still an impulse to tangle everything up in bureaucracy which just holds back innovation and progress.

“Under Gordon Brown, government retains the top-down, bureaucratic mindset.

“We have the opposite approach: moving from the mainframe mentality to networked knowledge, from top-down to bottom-up, from centralised to decentralised.”

Energy watchdog Ofgem would have to encourage the switch to energy sources such as combined heat and power, wind energy or solar power under the Tories’ plans.

Smart metres to measure electricity flowing in an out of premises would also be available free of charge to anyone installing micro-generating technology.

Mr Cameron said the paper was just the first stage of plans that would be unveiled by the Conservatives to help Britain maximise the economic potential of switching to a low-carbon society.

Kate Martin

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