Councils may cut red tape for community electricity generation schemes

Local authorities could be required to set targets for the amount of energy generated by community power schemes.

The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Private Members Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Commons on 11 November, would oblige councils with housing departments to set the targets on microgeneration. The authorities would also have to minimise the cost and administrative burdens to households of generating their own power.

The Bill, which has government backing, would also require the chancellor of the exchequer to report each year on fiscal measures to help microgeneration. The prime minister would also have to make an annual progress report on work to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The private members bill, put forward by Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz, will oblige energy suppliers to use green power – namely biomass, passive solar heating systems and geothermal systems – to generate a proportion of their energy for heating.

The government has also added a measure to the bill to lower the costs paid by communities on Scottish Islands who generate their own electricity until 2024. In addition communities will no longer have to sell their power to the national grid and buy it back before using it.

A spokesman for the DTI said the targets have not yet been set so he was unsure what impact they would have on new build housing.

The Bill will now go to the committee stage, although no date has been set for this, before going before parliament for the last time.