The UK government and energy regulator Ofgem have teamed up to publish a document asking for evidence on barriers and incentives to 'locally grown' energy schemes.

A radical shift away from large centralized power production to community-based ‘locally grown’ energy could help cut carbon emissions and improve efficiency, UK trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling has declared.

Following its energy review, the UK government, together with Ofgem, is examining the incentives and barriers that impact on this way of producing energy, known as ‘distributed energy’ or ‘decentralized energy.’ As part of this, the government is calling for evidence from interested parties.

There is huge potential for us to make energy a local issue, involving individuals, businesses and communities, Mr Darling said. More and more people want to generate their own electricity at home and people can now buy the products on the high street.

Making it easier for people to sell surplus electricity back to the grid and looking at the potential of new combined heat and power domestic boilers, must be considered, he continued. We want to understand the barriers to generating energy locally in large buildings like hospitals, hotels and universities.

The distributed electricity generation document from the government and Ofgem is asking for evidence of the barriers and incentives from interested parties. They are particularly interested in evidence on licensing issues, ensuring fair reward for distributed electricity sold into the grid, and the operation of private wire networks.

The government also announced that it has granted consent for a new power station at Isle of Grain in Kent. This station will make use of the heat produced when the electricity is made to supply local industry, providing an example of how fossil fuels can be used more efficiently.