Government plans to boost small-scale renewables

Plans to boost the uptake of small-scale renewable energy technology among households and businesses have been published by the government.

The Microgeneration Strategy focuses on non-financial barriers to microgeneration which must be tackled to maximise the effectiveness of existing financial incentives, such as Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Many of the recommendations (see below) should be tackled by the microgeneration industry, although the government could intervene where needed, climate change minister Greg Barker said.

“Our shared objective is to see the microgeneration sector move into the energy mainstream, offering consumers affordable, and cost-effective low carbon energy products. Eventually we expect that the industry can do this without the need for additional support.”

Over time it is likely that financial support for microgeneration technology will be reduced as understanding improves and the cost decreases, the report said.

The main recommendations of the Microgeneration Strategy are:

• Microgeneration Certification Scheme will be simplified and brought into line with European and international requirements. The scheme will be reviewed and re-established as a free-standing, not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee

• The government’s main method for assessing the energy and environmental performance of new and existing dwellings (SAP) will better reflect the potential of microgeneration technologies. Public consultation on changes to SAP likely in late 2011, with changes implemented in 2013

• Clarification of the level of maintenance/service required for microgeneration technologies and who bears the risk over the lifecycle of a product. Industry to map current warranty and insurance schemes and produce a guide for consumers

• Improve skills and training for those in the microgeneration technology sector – National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies

• Industry to produce clear guidance on the available technologies and longevity of key components, including control systems. The way grid and connection issues are managed will be improved

• Communications campaign to raise the awareness of microgeneration among consumers, businesses and communities. Particular emphasis on the Green Deal initiative, which starts in 2012 and promoting community-scale energy