Over 50 per cent of households want to generate their own power according to a survey sponsored by Utility Week magazine and management consultants Accenture. The main reason was to save money, and the environment was the second motivating factor.
The most crucial finding was the strength of appetite for microgeneration. Just over half of all participating homeowners (51 per cent) said they would be interested in generating their own power. Accenture’s UK utilities practice, had anticipated 10 to 20 per cent. Saving money was the driving factor for those interested (71 per cent). This could prove a stumbling block in the short term, given the relative high price of equipment and hence the long payback time.
Ipsos MORI conducted the research by interviewing 1,010 respondents face to face in their homes during the last week of May. The sample was nationally representative of all adults in Great Britain in terms of sex, age, region, social grade and working status.
In Scotland, some politicians are listening. More than a third of all MSPs have backed a plan for a bill aimed at enabling every new home in Scotland to have its own renewable-energy system.
Labour MSP and former environment minister Sarah Boyack is proposing to re-introduce a bill that would require all new buildings to have the capacity for small-scale electricity generation.
It would also offer incentives, such as one-off council tax and business-rate reductions, for installing renewables systems and would require the Scottish Executive to set microgeneration targets, as well as obliging local authorities to assess the role of renewables technology in sustainable energy.
Prices will tumble in three to five years, and current payback calculations do not factor in the boost that home generation can give to property prices (perhaps 5 per cent for solar) or potential revenue from exporting power back to the grid.
The second biggest driver for those interested was the desire to cut emissions (59 per cent). Climate change messages are clearly getting through, which is good news for utilities and other companies considering getting into the energy services market
Seventy per cent of those in the A/B social categories cited cutting emissions as a driver, and these people are also less likely to be put off by costs. Those aged 65 or over were far less inclined towards producing their own power than younger respondents.
Only 12 per cent were motivated by supply security, and 10 per cent by the prospect of making money by selling surplus power back to the grid. This suggests that neither looming security of supply issues, nor power export potential, have really made it into the public psyche yet.
Of those not interested in micro