Wednesday, 21st August 2013
UK: Local Energy
Source: House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee (UK)
Medium-sized local energy projects such as solar arrays, wind turbines and district heating systems could bring considerable benefits to local communities and the country as a whole, but Government needs to do more to support businesses, cooperatives, local authorities and other public sector organisations who wish to install them.
Government provides support to households who install small-scale renewable energy systems through the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FiT), while large scale projects like off-shore wind farms will be supported through new fixed-price Contracts for Difference (CfDs). Medium-sized energy projects between 10-50 Megawatts (MW) are currently slipping through the net, however, being too big to receive FiTs yet too small to take advantage of CfDs.
Although it is unlikely that local energy projects will eliminate the need for larger, centralised power stations, with some Government support they could provide a significant proportion of the UK's energy capacity and a range of other advantages. Giving communities a stake in local energy projects has the potential to broaden public understanding of energy issues, encouraging energy-conscious behaviour and greater public engagement in carbon reduction initiatives. Greater use of local energy would also enhance the security and efficiency of the energy system as a whole by increasing the diversity of generating capacity available and reducing the energy lost in transmission or wasted as unused heat.
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By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.
A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.
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