The Local Government Act, established in 1976, has forbidden councils to sell excess power generated back to the grid in an attempt to protect the newly established private electric companies of that time. This ban made it impossible for councils to profit from the sale of electricity generated using green technologies. The reversal of the ban opens a new era of money generation from solar and wind generators bring revenue to local councils. The incentive is certainly there now and it is expected that hundreds of green generating units will quickly be installed along with an accompanying energy monitor.
Solar panels placed on south facing walls or roofs and wind generators placed strategically in car parks could generate an average of 10,000 pounds per year for just a single installation on the town hall building. With most councils owning multiple facilities, further installations could bring in considerably more than this amount.
Schools, hospitals, and parks are all sites that could be used to generate electricity. Wind turbines are not efficient when mounted on most buildings, but a park setting allows the installation of a pole-mounted turbine at a height of at least 150 ft. Caution is advised in areas with scenic and historic views; alternatives to wind generators should be used in these areas.
The goals of the project are multiple. Generating significant quantities of green energy will help the Government meet its carbon emission reduction goals of cutting CO2 by one third in the next decade. The money generated for councils will bolster local economies, and the highly visible nature of the installations will help foster a nationwide attitude of acceptance and pride in green technologies.
A major factor in this plan to green the UK is the 'Feed in Tariff' that subsidizes the generation of electricity from green technologies. The Government put this program, also known as the 'Clean Energy Cashback,' into place in February 2010. It allows local governments and schools to benefit from generating a portion of their own electricity, assists in keeping energy costs down, and additionally allows profits from the sale of the electricity produced. Each unit of electricity produced is financially rewarded by this programme, no matter if it is used by the council or put back into the grid. In addition, money is generated by the portion of the power that is fed to the grid. The payments for the programme are guaranteed by law for 25 years.