A new report by Carbon Connect, part of the Policy Connect think-tank asserts that the UK government must establish a "clear vision" and show “stronger and clearer leadership" in promoting distributed electricity generation if it intends to build a sustainable, secure, and affordable energy system.
Around 11 per cent of the UK's generating capacity – or 9GW – is made up of small units producing electricity near to where it is consumed, and just over half of this comes from renewable technologies such as solar panels and wind turbine, according to the report.
It says this distributed generation will have an increasingly important part to play as the UK's push for a low carbon energy system sees renewable capacity treble to 45GW by 2020 and combined heat and power (CHP) systems almost double in capacity to 8.6GW.
The report is supported by Siemens and Covanta Energy and endorsed by Laura Sandys MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.
Business Green reports that a number of large corporations have already started investment programmes to ensure they are in control of their own energy supply. IKEA is investing €1.5bn in wind and solar systems to become energy independent by the end of the decade, while Waitrose has installed biomass energy centres at two stores as part of the John Lewis Partnership's goal to develop 150 similar centres across the country.
Among its recommendations are creating an over-arching national strategy that sets out the UK's vision for the role distributed energy will play alongside other emission reduction measures, such as energy efficiency and smart meter installations.
Stephen Barker, head of energy efficiency and environmental care at Siemens, said in a statement that getting distributed energy right is "one of the key industrial and economic challenges of our time".
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