Many UK households could one day be self-sufficient in energy needs and routinely make money by selling surplus electricity from home generators such as solar panels and micro-wind turbines.
This is among the possibilities raised by Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks as the Department of Trade and Industry asks for views on the development of “micro-generation” of low-carbon energy by homes, businesses and public buildings.
Micro-generation is the production of heat and/or electricity on a small scale, from a low-carbon source. Various technologies can be used, including air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, fuel cells, micro-CHP, micro-hydro, micro-wind, bio-energy and solar (thermal and photovoltaic).
The DTI is developing a cross-Government strategy for the development of micro-generation, including micro-hydro, micro-wind, solar power, fuel cells, micro-combined heat and power, and ground and air source heat pumps. How much can be done will depend on the costs and how they compare with other technologies.
Proposals are also outlined today at the Renewable Power Association’s annual conference in London for a grant scheme that could see a series of flagship low-carbon buildings over the next six years.
“Many people are keen to do their bit to help cut climate-changing emissions. They have the potential to make a big difference – nearly half of all UK carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings,” said Mr Wicks.
“RPA member companies are at the forefront of the rapidly growing UK market for technologies that can literally put a power station on your own roof or in your own building,” said Renewable Power Association Chief Executive Philip Wolfe. “We are looking forward to working with DTI and other Departments to help deliver a successful long-term micro-generation strategy with all of the environmental, investment, innovation, export and job creation benefits that this will bring to the UK.”