UK Law Could Streamline Renewable Energy

UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks outlined the Government’s broad support for Mark Lazarowicz’s Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Private Member’s Bill, which had its second reading in the Commons this week. The main purpose of the Bill is to enhance the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change.

It calls for an annual report to be laid before the House on the efforts being made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and an update on the implementation of the DTI’s microgeneration strategy. It also calls for increased promotion of microgeneration technologies and eventual targets for their use. The Government is seeking amendments to the Bill while adding two new measures. The first would increase the time period of the power contained in section 185 of the Energy Act 2004. Earlier this year, the Government announced its intention to use this power to adjust transmission charges for renewable generators on the Scottish Islands. The scheme was set to run until 2014. The additional clause that he is proposing to include in the Climate Change bill would extend the deadline to 2024. “The wind, wave and tidal power potential of the Scottish islands is immense,” Wicks said. “With the right conditions, 1900 MW of electricity could be feeding into the grid from the islands early in the next decade, enough to power over a million households, more than Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen combined.” “In March this year we announced our intention to adjust the otherwise high charges these generators will need to pay to National Grid to transmit their electricity,” Wicks said. “But the long lead times for developing projects on the islands mean that they will derive only minimal benefit from a scheme ending in 2014. Extending the scheme beyond this date would provide additional support to island projects and bring both environmental benefits and economic benefits to island communities.” A consultation on the adjustment of transmission charges in the north of Scotland was launched in July. Its findings will be reported early in the New Year before a final consultation process on the license modifications needed to implement the scheme. The second new clause would simplify the issue of the Renewables Obligation Certificates for microgenerators by removing administrative obstacles. It would allow agents to act on behalf of microgenerators and amalgamate their output. It will also remove the requirement for a sale and buy-back agreement. Currently the legislation requires that generators that consume their own electricity must first sell it to a supplier before buying it back for their own consumption. “Helping community microgenerators club together to benefit from the Renewables Obligation would help spread the incentive that has already made large-scale renewables commercially viable,” Wicks said. “The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill would be an appropriate piece of legislation to make these changes at the earliest opportunity.”
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