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Chris Huhne has called on councils to kick-start a local power revolution

August 9, 2010 10:12 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

At present only 0.01% of electricity in England is generated by local authority-owned renewables, despite the scope that exists to install projects on their land and buildings. In Germany the equivalent figure is 100 times higher.

At present local authorities are able to put any renewable electricity they generate to local use, and to benefit from the associated feed-in tariff for projects smaller than 5MW. But they are restricted from selling any excess renewable electricity into the grid.

The steps that are now being taken could mean up to £200m a year in income for local authorities across England and Wales.

In advance of a visit to Woking Borough Council's clean energy projects, Chris Huhne said:

"For too long, Whitehall's dogmatic reliance on 'big' energy has stood in the way of the vast potential role of local authorities in the UK's green energy revolution.

"Forward thinking local authorities such as Woking in Surrey have been quietly getting on with it, but against the odds, their efforts frustrated by the law.

"I've taken the early step of overturning the ban on local authorities selling renewable electricity to the grid.

"This is a vital step to making community renewable projects commercially viable, to bring in long-term income to benefit local areas, and to secure local acceptance for low carbon energy projects."