Barker unveils microgeneration consultation

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker today launched a formal consultation document on the government’s strategy for microgeneration. The coalition intends that small scale power generation, coupled with the roll out […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker today launched a formal consultation document on the government’s strategy for microgeneration.

The coalition intends that small scale power generation, coupled with the roll out of smart meters and the much talked-up Green Deal, will help reduce bills and make people more energy self sufficient.

The strategy unveiled today will investigate how to overcome the barriers to increase consumer confidence and sustainably grow the UK energy, with the help of financial support via the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed In Tariffs.

Mr Barker said: “I am planting the seeds for growth so we can see small scale energy generation flourish in homes, businesses and communities. All elements of the industry, from standards and access to information to technology and skills must be ready to deliver and grow.

“We’ve already pledged financial support to encourage people to install kit like solar panels and heat pumps, today’s consultation will ensure that the industry and consumers have the confidence to invest.”

The consultation on the microgeneration will look at four key areas for development:

• Quality: to ensure consumers have confidence that equipment and installation is reliable and adheres to the highest standards;

•Technology: to examine how to grow the industry by improving products, using existing intelligence and more trialling of technologies new to the UK;

•Skills: to develop the microgeneration supply chain to ensure it is properly equipped with the right people to meet the expected rise in demand, as well as creating and sustaining jobs in the UK;

•Information and advice: to provide more accessible advice and information about microgeneration to homeowners, communities and consumers.

Chief executive of the Micropower Council, Dave Sowden, said: “The UK’s microgeneration sector is at the heart of a Citizen’s Energy Revolution. In tough economic times, this rapidly growing industry is helping consumers to go green, has created thousands of jobs, aiding economic recovery, and attracting manufacturing investment here in the UK.

“We have already seen extraordinary growth in microgeneration power generation solutions thanks to the introduction of the Feed in Tariff earlier this year, and look forward to similar incentives being extended to renewable heating and hot water systems next June.

“Today’s welcome proposals will help the industry grow with proper attention to quality, technology and skills development, whilst making it all much easier for consumers.”

The formal consultation follows a period of informal collaboration with industry, which began in July. The focus of the consultation will be electricity generation technologies less than 50 kW in size, and heat generating technologies less than 300 kW in size. This includes air, ground and water source heat pumps; solar photovoltaics and thermal water heating; biomass boilers; micro-Combined Heat and Power; micro-wind turbines; fuel cells; micro hydro schemes and passive flue gas recovery devices.

The consultation document can be found at https://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/microgen_strat/microgen_strat.aspx. The consultation will close on March 16 next year.