British energy minister Brian Wilson has called for the removal of financial, technical and regulatory barriers to the development of renewable, small-scale power generation.LONDON, England, UK, 2001-12-18 [SolarAccess.com] “We have the skills and technology in this country to be world leaders in renewables,” he said at the first meeting of the Distributed Generation Co-ordinating Group. “Affordable and fair access to local distribution networks has a vital role to play in encouraging the much greater use of renewables.” He supported changes to the connection charges regime that would ease the initial costs of linking small generators to the grid, and suggested that incentives should be provided to distribution companies to facilitate connection. “Distribution needs to move from passive, one way networks of today, to intelligent, actively managed networks capable of accepting power flows in either direction,” he says. “Distribution network operators may need to act as market facilitators rather than simply maintaining the distribution networks to maximize electricity flows.” Supporters of small-scale embedded generation welcomed the coordinating group as a major step forward. “It is very good that the group has been put together with ministerial clout; things should move forward quite quickly,” says Syed Ahmed of the Combined Heat & Power Association. “It could change the whole way energy is distributed.” “It could eventually lead to cheaper electricity for consumers,” adds Alison Hill of the British Wind Energy Association, which supports the proposed changes as cheaper for environmental and financial costs. Wilson says the energy review will be completed by the end of this year. The government wants to create a £1 billion market for renewables by 2010. The Department of Trade & Industry says the main driver will be the renewables obligation that requires electricity providers to supply 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2011.