Feed-in tariffs and test funding launch new era for "home grown" green electricity

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

April 1st's launch of feed-in tariffs will enable homes and businesses to generate income from producing their own renewable electricity and selling the surplus to the national grid and the additional funding announcement for small turbine test facilities provides timely boosts to world leading UK small wind industry.

RenewableUK, the UK’s leading renewable energy association, has today welcomed the launch of the feed-in tariff (otherwise known as Green Energy Cashbacks) which will transform the way homes and businesses meet their energy requirements.

Commenting on the announcement, Maria McCaffery MBE, CEO of RenewableUK said: “The Feed-in Tariff will empower every household, farmstead and business in Britain to earn money by producing clean, green and renewable energy for their own needs and selling any surplus to the grid. This is nothing short of a revolution in the way electricity is generated and sold, which will also stimulate the growth of the new UK renewables industry and the creation of local jobs, and drive widespread behavioural change toward energy use and generation.”

The feed-in tariff will provide fixed rewards, of up to 41.3p, for every unit of electricity generated from eligible technologies such as small wind turbines, solar PV panels, and micro-hydro products for the defined lifetime of the installation. All electricity sold to the national grid will also be able to access a extra 3p for every exported unit. The economics of installing small scale renewable technology will be transformed and is predicted to stimulate a surge of interest nation wide. For example well sited small wind turbines are now expected to repay their initial investment in less than 5 years.

In a connected announcement the Department for Energy and Climate Change yesterday released funding to support a new public small wind test facility at TUVNEL’s Myershill in East Kilbride , Scotland . New testing infrastructure, and related equipment, will expand UK small wind testing capacity, improve cost efficiencies within testing processes, and help maintain the UK small industry at the forefront of research, development, and technological innovation.

Alex Murley, Head of Small Systems at RenewableUK said: "Following over two years of communicating the importance of industry standards, appropriate infrastructure, and the need to support indigenous small wind manufacturing, RenewableUK is delighted to welcome recent Government announcements on small wind testing.

The UK leads the world in Small Wind System manufacturing, and the development of robust industry standards. Together with the launch of new financial incentives, new DECC funding for small wind testing will usher in a new dawn of technological maturity, sustainable market growth, and help consolidate UK industrial leadership."

Aside from the factor that Britain is the leader in small wind turbine manufacture, small wind is the true way to go, as that will provide householders with a real alternative and also and alternative in the current used.

It is the high voltage and the alternate current used in the large turbines that really still cause some problems. Often the wind blows strongest, strangely enough, when we do not need much electricity, such as at night but there is no way, with AC, to store such surplus power.

A real change is needed but will we get it, ever...

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