Government encourages microgeneration

The government has launched the first stage of its plans to help homes and organisations install microgeneration technology.

As part of the new Microgeneration Strategy, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will review the types of incentives that could be used to encourage communities to generate their own energy. The government will publish its final proposal in early 2011.

Homes, schools and businesses are already guaranteed cash payments through the feed-in tariff, which came into effect on 1 April this year, for producing their own green electricity through technologies such as solar panels or small wind turbines, as well as for selling it to the national grid.

Around 100,000 homes and organisations have installed this kind of technology so far.

Climate change minister Greg Barker said the government would like to see this figure rise.

‘I want to see more homes, communities and businesses generating their own energy. We can literally bring power back to the people. Microgeneration is a key part of this vision,’ he said.

‘By becoming more self-sufficient we can create sustainable local energy economies. People and communities can save money on their fuel bills at the same time as generating an income and cutting carbon. I want to work with industry to overcome the challenges it is facing. Together we will create a marketplace for jobs and prosperity alongside products and advice that people trust.’

The announcement is further to plans to overturn a ban on councils selling green electricity to the national grid. Last week, climate change secretary Chris Huhne said he wants local councils to be allowed to sell electricity they produce from renewables to the national electricity grid. DECC will be repealing the 1976 Local Government Act by the end of the year.

According to DECC, the focus of the Microgeneration Strategy will be electricity-generation technologies less than 50kW in size and heat-generating technologies less than 300kW in size. This includes air, ground and water source heat pumps, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal water heating, biomass boilers, micro combined heat and power, micro wind turbines, fuel cells and micro hydro schemes.

Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council, said government efforts to support the mass market of a UK microgeneration industry could make sustainable energy self-production in reach of every citizen.

‘Microgeneration is already a notable British manufacturing, servicing and export success story,’ he added. ‘It brings a unique personal touch for citizens to do their bit in tackling the country’s energy efficiency and sustainability needs, as well as helping supply security, fuel poverty relief and creating thousands of green jobs in recent years. We look forward to working closely with the government on a new policy framework to allow every citizen, business, school, hospital, community and other organisations to grow their own energy.’

DECC has asked that those wishing to contribute to the microgeneration consultation should email The consultation will close on 22 December 2010.