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Electric Power Distribution

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

4. What assessment he has made of the merits of a decentralised energy system for the distribution and delivery of electric power. (82768)

The DTI and the regulator, Ofgem, now lead an industry group known as the electricity networks strategy group, which looks at our networks as a whole to ensure that they do not present any barriers to the meeting of Government energy goals. That applies not only to the national grid system, but to local generation.

I am glad to hear that. The Minister may know that I have a longstanding interest in renewable energy; indeed, I have a photovoltaic roof partly paid for by the DTI PV scheme. I should declare that interest. As he knows, decentralised energy can contribute to the efficiency of renewables. Will he therefore consider, following the investigation, extending Ofgem’s remit to provide for decentralised network generation?

This is a bit like waiting for Godot, although, for me, rather more interesting. We have to wait for the publication of the review on those aspects. However, I take the hon. Gentleman’s point about having more decentralised energy. I am pleased that his roof has photovoltaics. I hope that he voted for the money that allowed that to happen; we will check the record on that. A number of challenges are involved in providing more decentralised energy, not least in terms of planning and regulation.