ANEW REPORT, Power to the people, published by the UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), calls for an overhaul of energy policy to encourage a more decentralised energy system in which householders could generate their own electricity.

The report says that technologies have become available that allow domestic central heating boilers to generate electricity as well as heat. It adds that by 2020, modern homes will incorporate PV solar panels, remote switching for water heaters and refrigeration equipment, and that new public buildings will have some form of self generation or renewable heating and cooling built in. Mini and micro hydro development also features in the proposed mix.

‘We would want to see micro-hydro as one of the technologies to be expanded in this sort of system,’ said Chris Hewett, a senior research fellow at the IPPR.

To follow a path of decentralised power, the report says that the government has to provide the right market framework by introducing economic incentives for decentralised generation and by installing an energy policy that treats economic, social, environmental and security objectives on a par with liberalisation.