Microgeneration and combined heat and power

In March 2006 the UK government issued a report outlining a new microgeneration programme called 'Our energy strategy power from the people'. It was prompted by the Energy Saving Trust's (EST) prediction that microgeneration could provided 30-40% of the UK's electricity needs by 2050. The report was mainly descriptive, identifying a range of difficulties faced by potential installers, particularly the problems of contributing to the grid and the feed-in tariffs that are offered. Its main conclusion was there needs to be a clear idea of the real potential of all microgeneration technologies before setting a target. Setting targets is justified if there are to be subsidies to encourage the adoption of these technologies. Otherwise it is all up to the vagaries of the market and targets are mere wishful thinking.

Much of the research has already been done by the EST with a study which shows the current status of these technologies and their expected break-even dates (see Fig. 9.1).

It is worth noting that only the micro-solid oxide fuel cell and Stirling combined heat and power technologies ultimately break even without any subsidy.

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