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Sustainable Energy Bill - A Lot Of Hot Air ?

MPs will vote today (March 10th) on proposals which could make it significantly easier for householders across the UK to generate their own power. Tory moderniser, David Cameron, already has plans for a wind turbine on his London home while Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks also wants to install his own home turbine.

The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill, which is facing its final parliamentary hurdles when it comes before the Commons on the 10th, has got all-party support to promote "micro-generation", such as solar and wind power. The bill would introduce official targets for the growth of micro-generation - and there would be a "buy-back" regulation in which householders who produce a surplus of power would be paid a fair price by energy suppliers.

Planning obstacles for small-scale renewable energy schemes would be reduced - and to meet targets, it's been suggested local authorities could provide financial incentives for using renewable energy.

Labour backbencher Mark Lazarowicz, who is sponsoring the bill, says the "whole political atmosphere has changed" in the debate over energy and climate change. "The argument isn't any more about whether we should use more renewable energy, but how we do it," says Mr Lazarowicz. Adding to the political pressure will be the government's own strategy on micro-generation, due to be published before the end of the month.

One problem for householders wanting to erect wind turbines and solar panels is getting planning permission, and the energy minister is expected to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill, which is facing its final parliamentary hurdles when it comes before the Commons on the 10th, has got all-party support to promote "micro-generation", such as solar and wind power. The bill would introduce official targets for the growth of micro-generation - and there would be a "buy-back" regulation in which householders who produce a surplus of power would be paid a fair price by energy suppliers.

Planning obstacles for small-scale renewable energy schemes would be reduced - and to meet targets, it's been suggested local authorities could provide financial incentives for using renewable energy.

Labour backbencher Mark Lazarowicz, who is sponsoring the bill, says the "whole political atmosphere has changed" in the debate over energy and climate change. "The argument isn't any more about whether we should use more renewable energy, but how we do it," says Mr Lazarowicz. Adding to the political pressure will be the government's own strategy on micro-generation, due to be published before the end of the month.

One problem for householders wanting to erect wind turbines and solar panels is getting planning permission, and the energy minister is expected to make this easier. Mr Wicks, as well as wanting to stick a turbine on his own roof, has already pointed to the benefits of micro-generation.

"Before the advent of large-scale power stations, self-sufficiency in energy generation was the norm - water mills used to grind corn, coal-fired boilers providing heat. Advances in technology mean that products are now available that allow the individual to regain this self-sufficiency," Mr Wicks has argued.

But is it just spin?. Keith Barnham, professor of physics at Imperial College London, says that the UK has already been "crazily" slow in its development of solar power - and that so far we have had a poor record on serious sustained investment.

Research investment is seven times greater in nuclear power - and he says that Germany, with similar sunlight levels, already has 30 times more solar panels on its roofs. If the Germans continue to expand solar power at the same rate, in another six years they will be getting more electricity from solar power than the UK gets from its nuclear power stations, says Professor Barnham.

Increased investment in solar power would make the technology more efficient and cheaper, he says, in the way that mobile phone and computer technology has accelerated. "We've already fallen badly behind," says Professor Barnham.



Source: http://www.newbuilder.co.uk...

MAR 13 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1669-sustainable-energy-bill-a-lot-of-hot-air
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