David Cameron will today visit the Greenpeace direct action warehouse to announce a new policy that would see householders receive a guaranteed premium price for any renewable electricity they generate.
A new Conservative paper - released today - looks to adopt Greenpeace proposals designed to kick-start a local energy revolution by making the costs of installing technologies such as domestic solar power much more affordable, while ensuring householders who generate clean energy get a higher price for the electricity they feed into the grid.
Greenpeace has led the campaign for the adoption of a 'decentralised energy' system where energy is generated cleanly and close to where it's used, drastically slashing emissions by cutting out waste. Several Greenpeace reports, including one entitled 'Decentralising Power: An Energy Revolution For The 21st Century' called for many of the proposals unveiled today. Now the Tory leader is visiting the organisation's warehouse, where many of Greenpeace's most famous protests were planned, to release a report entitled 'Power to the people - the decentralised energy revolution'. New Conservative polices include:
- A 'feed-in tariff' for domestic green energy. That means a guaranteed elevated price for electricity from clean technology. In Germany, households with installed renewable systems are able to 'sell' electricity back to the grid at a much higher price than the standard market rate.
- A reformed planning system making it easier for individuals to install ‘micro-generation' systems by making them a form of 'permitted development'. This will mean that owners of these appliances will not have to go through the full planning approval process before installing such equipment.
- The green paper promises that further announcements detailing support for large scale renewable schemes such as offshore wind farms, and so-called Combined Heat and Power plants, will follow. A series of announcements will form the Conservatives' complete clean energy policy. Today's proposals are the first to be published.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK said: "We've been pushing this climate change solution for many years so it's very exciting to have a major political party take our ideas and adopt them as policy. But we really want to see this as a government priority, no matter who's in Number Ten. Ken Livingstone has been aggressively pushing decentralised energy for London, now Cameron gets it too. The question is, where's Brown? Guaranteed higher prices for clean electricity have kick-started the green energy revolution in Europe. It's high time Britain joined in."
The new policy will be announced by David Cameron at 2pm today (Thursday) in the Greenpeace direct action warehouse, where many of the organisation's most famous protests were planned. The building is powered by solar panels - just the kind of technology supported in the new Conservative report.
David Cameron is likely to be lobbied by energy dinosaurs to drop these plans. Greenpeace today urged him to stand his ground and develop his plan to include:
Massive improvements in energy efficiency to reduce demand - the quickest, cheapest way to cut emissions.
Ambitious decentralised energy programmes - like the one proposed today - that will cut waste from the energy system and slash emissions.
Massive uptake of large scale renewable energy including wind power (onshore and offshore), wave power, tidal power, solar and sustainably sourced biomass.
Greenpeace has written to Gordon Brown urging his government to embrace the ideas in the organisation's climate change solutions reports and has invited ministers to see decentralised energy in action. Today we are again urging the Prime Minister to adopt this simple climate solution and adopt energy efficiency, decentralised energy and large-scale renewable energy
Photo and video available - Greenpeace 0207 865 8255
The Convenient Solution: a short film about the real solution to climate change
Guaranteed prices for electricity from renewable generation have been operating in Germany since 2001. The feed-in tariff has led to a massive expansion in the German renewable energy sector. Germany now has 300 times the installed solar capacity of the UK, and has also led to the installation of ten times as much wind power capacity, despite the UK having the best wind resources in Europe. Estimates suggest that the German economy has generated over 250,000 'green collar jobs' under the scheme.
This price would be guaranteed for a number of years, meaning that renewable energy installers would be able to offer packages to UK households which would be far more competitive than had previously been possible. The current grant scheme, known as the 'Low Carbon Buildings Programme' lacks the required resources and is often criticised for its complexity.
Under an EU scheme the UK is expected to provide around 15 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020. The energy sector encompasses heat, transport and electricity, so experts have predicted that in order to hit this target, the UK must produce as much as 40-45 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Currently, the UK is lagging far behind its European competitors when it comes to renewable energy. Only the small island state of Malta produces a smaller percentage of its energy from renewables.