Microgeneration: Power to the people?

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Households and neighbourhoods feeding small-scale electricity and heat into a decentralised European energy grid: this is the vision developed by proponents of microgeneration. Yet at present, the EU's energy system remains centralised and dominated by large power plants. 

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Overview

The term 'microgeneration' refers to an array of small and medium-sized generators of electricity, including solar, wind, hydro, biomass and waste. Also included in the scope of microgeneration are combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration facilities, which feed the heat produced during electricity generation either directly into homes or into a local district heat and power network.     

Proponents of microgeneration (also known as distributed or decentralised generation) argue that a decentralised energy market is a prerequisite for achieving the EU's renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. But they lament that significant obstacles block their ability to compete with larger power producers (EurActiv 03/07/07). 

In addition, EU member states have different rules in place governing grid access for smaller producers, which the microgeneration industry says acts as a barrier to the development of an EU-wide market for small-scale power generation. At the moment, the EU's microgeneration market remains rather small.

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