The Bill was presented to Parliament on 21 January with the aim of defining the term “green energy” and of promoting its development, installation and usage. In essence, it seeks to cut out the red tape for microgeneration and to promote energy production and energy efficiency measures, improving the planning process and making the installation of small-scale electricity and heat generation easier and more economically viable.
The Bill had its second reading on 8 May 2009. During the second reading, Mr Ainsworth commented that the Bill is
'…meant to be helpful to industry and investors, who are urgently looking for clear and simple support from legislation affecting their businesses. It is meant to be helpful to the farming industry in developing its potential as a significant source of energy generation in rural areas. It is intended to be helpful to people living in fuel poverty, and to all who are struggling to pay for electricity and heating, and who are dependent on inefficient fossil fuels; helpful to all who want to play their part in reducing CO2 emissions; and helpful to the Government in meeting their own targets on fuel poverty, renewable energy and climate change.'
Greg Barker commented that the
'…message is that the microgeneration agenda has come of age. That agenda has been pulled from the fringes of politics and the energy debate into the mainstream. That is not only because of climate change, but because of how technology is advancing and how the consumer’s interest is now about becoming more involved, rather than just being a passive recipient of energy. The rising cost of old fossil fuels means that people are becoming more energy-efficient and want to play a more active role in energy production.''
A copy of the Bill was published on 24 April 2009 and can be viewed by clicking here.
The Bill states that its principal purpose is the promotion of green energy. “Green energy” means energy generated from renewable or small-scale low-carbon local sources and includes energy efficiency measures. Any person performing any functions under the Act must do so having regard to:
- the promotion of green energy;
- the desirability of alleviating fuel poverty; and
- the desirability of securing a diverse and viable long-term energy supply.
Actions to be taken
The Bill also tasks the Secretary of State to do the following, once the Act comes into force:
- within 12 months, publish a revised microgeneration strategy;
- review permitted development orders;
- make regulations within three months to amend the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2008 (SI 2008/675) for the purpose of granting permitted development status to specified microgeneration installations;
- disregard any estimated increase in the value of a property arising from the installation of an energy efficiency measure or a microgeneration system for the purpose of assessing council tax or non-domestic rates payable on that property.