British business lobby criticises government over on-site power complexity

The Confederation of Business Industries says that the British government is at fault for failing to maximise the potential of on-site power generation in the UK.

A report from the CBI highlights the growing number of businesses in the country that are reaping the benefits of on-site power.

The number of businesses that generate their own electricity is set to more than double by 2030, according to the research but the report also found that a “lack of clear and coherent" government framework makes corporate on-site power generation more challenging than it should be.

The report, entitled Small Steps, Big Impact: Maximising the role of on-site generation in meeting our energy and climate change challenges, says 14 per cent of the UK's energy needs are currently met through on-site generation and output from the sector could rise 130 per cent by 2030.

The report represents a boost to suppliers of onsite renewable generation technologies, such as solar panels, heat pumps, biomass boilers, and small wind turbines, who have identified business customers as an important and growing market.

"Tackling our energy and climate change challenges will be as much about the smaller steps made by every business and household as well as the big infrastructure projects," said Rhian Kelly, business environment director at the CBI. "On-site generation has the potential to help businesses, communities and the environment, and must be supported and encouraged."

However, the influential business group warns that although on-site generation can stimulate economic growth and make businesses more resilient and competitive, the length and complexity associated with onsite generation installation projects makes them particularly challenging for medium and small-sized businesses.

It recommends businesses undertake analyses of a broad range of different technologies in order to ensure they select systems that are suitable for their location.

It also warns that a clear and coherent government policy framework is needed to the sector that "matches the ambition of business", warning there is currently "a lack of clarity" around how onsite renewable energy policies, such as the feed-in tariff and renewable heat incentive will continue to operate.

The institute argues that in addition to announcing more details on the long term future of onsite renewables policies, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) should appoint a dedicated senior advisor for decentralised generation.

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