Cash incentives needed for green homes conversion

Most homeowners would consider installing green energy systems such as solar panels or small wind turbines if they were paid enough cash, according to a new study.

Most homeowners would consider installing green energy systems such as solar panels or small wind turbines if they were paid enough cash, according to a new study.

A survey of over 2,100 adults showed that seven out of 10 would consider fitting micro-generation schemes if so-called feed in tariffs were generous enough.

Friends of the Earth, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Co-operative Group, which commissioned the study, said the findings showed the Government's plans to pay homes and businesses to generate green electricity were not ambitious enough.

Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: "The public overwhelmingly wants the Government to think big when it comes to small-scale renewable energy.

"Our homes, businesses and communities could become green power stations, but bigger Government incentives are needed to make this a reality.

"Ministers must listen and introduce an ambitious feed-in tariff scheme that will encourage millions of households, companies and communities across the UK to join the green energy revolution.

"This will help tackle climate change, create new jobs and businesses and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels."

The Co-operative Group's sustainable development manager, Chris Shearlock, said: "As a business that has campaigned for strong climate change legislation, is taking action to reduce its own emissions and owns the UK's largest solar power project, we want to be able to use small-scale renewables on our stores and branches around the country.

"Without feed-in tariffs offering a greater level of return this opportunity will be sadly lost."

REA head of external affairs Leonie Greene said: "The public have given an incredible show of support for renewable energy, even in the deepest recession for a generation.

"The involvement of everyday people and businesses can transform the UK's renewable energy industry and bring down technology costs, as is the case in other European countries.

"The new renewable electricity payment schemes that will be announced shortly should make it easier for everyone to invest - let's hope the Government delivers the ambitious scheme we clearly all want."

Most of those questioned said the UK should spend money on developing its own renewable resources to make it less dependent on importing gas.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "With the right incentive we expect small scale electricity can play a part in greening the energy we use in our homes.

"That's why in just over two months time anyone generating electricity from renewables up to five megawatts will get cashback for the energy they produce. We've assessed over 700 responses to the consultation and will make sure we have the right level of support in place when we finalise the scheme."

Shadow climate change minister Greg Barker said: "This poll confirms what we have been saying for some time, that Labour massively underestimate the appetite for decentralised energy among the public.

"Labour is failing to grasp the ambition that is out there in respect of this exciting technology."

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