A consortium of renewable energy producers have jointly written to Lord Hunt, the energy minister, asking him to urgently confirm that small scale Combined Heat & Power (micro CHP) units will be included in the feed-in tariff (FiT) which rewards local producers for electricity that they feed into the national grid.
Micro-CHP units which simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat to replace conventional doemstic central heating boilers are at a critical stage of development in the UK.
But the Combined Heat and Power Association, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council and the Micropower Council think that current government indecision is threatening the future of 20,000 UK jobs, and a fledgling UK industry with a potential value of £1.5bn.
Government officials are in the final stages of setting the subsidies [feed-in tariff] which are intended to provide financial incentives to householders for the production of renewable and low-carbon electricity in the home. But with just a few weeks before the deadline to set the FiT tariffs which will be effective for 3 years from April 2010 the UK's emerging micro-CHP industry still doesn’t know what tariff rate the technology will receive.
According to the consortium, if the FiT for micro-CHP was agreed at 15p per kilowatt hour this would mean a saving of up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 per annum from Britain's buildings by 2020.
In the Netherlands and Germany micro-CHP already receives considerable financial support from the government and the industry could be a considerable creator of jobs, not just in R&D and manufacture but also retro-fitting and maintenance.
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