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to become mini power stations
Jonathan Leake, Environment
MILLIONS of homes, schools and other public buildings could be
micro power stations under proposals to promote renewable energy
that will be
announced this week.
The scheme would see householders,
schools and businesses offered grants to
install wind turbines, solar
panels, “ground source heat pumps” (devices that
can extract energy from
under lawns and flower beds)and other systems to
generate their own
electricity and export it to the National Grid.
For some the scheme could
even herald an end to electricity bills, because if
they generated more
power than they consumed then power companies would have
to pay them for
Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, will give details of the scheme
launches the “microgeneration strategy”.
This follows last
week’s budget in which the chancellor said that the
government would spend
£50m on a low carbon buildings programme.
Wicks will go much further,
publishing studies showing that microgeneration
could provide up to 40% of
Britain’s electricity needs by 2050. “My vision is
that community buildings
such as schools and hospitals will eventually all
have solar panels, wind
turbines and other microgeneration systems to cut
power use. The same
applies to homes,” he said.
The strategy is expected to see householders
and others who adopt such
technologies early on being offered grants of up
to 30% of the cost.
The idea is that the money will help Britain’s
fledgling renewable energy
industry to expand and bring costs down to the
point where subsidies are no
would also allow householders who generate green electricity
“renewable obligation certificates”. These are a form of subsidy for
electricity providers, more than doubling the income that they would
from selling the power alone.
A typical householder with a wind turbine
would be able to claim about
£50-£100 a year, enough to help to pay back the
cost of installing such a
system in five years.
that his proposals could have planning implications and
would change the
appearance of buildings and whole areas if widely adopted.