15.Section 4 deals with national targets for microgeneration. It gives the Secretary of State a duty, if on 1 November 2008 he thinks it appropriate, to designate national microgeneration targets. It also then requires him to take steps to ensure those targets are met. If the Secretary of State decides that a target is not appropriate, he must publish the reasons for reaching this decision.
16.For Scotland, the Secretary of State will only be able to set targets for electricity generating microgeneration stations. This is because the generation of heat for the purpose of heating is a devolved matter, so it would be inappropriate for the Secretary of State to set a target in this area.
17.In arriving at a decision on whether targets need to be set, the Secretary of State has to consider:
The number of microgeneration systems installed
The Government’s Microgeneration Strategy
Research into the effect on the number of microgeneration installations that setting targets might have.
18.Section 5 only applies if a target is set under Section 4, and requires the Secretary of State to include appropriate information about things done in order to achieve any microgeneration target set in the annual reports, required by the Sustainable Energy Act 2003, on progress towards our sustainable energy goals
19.Section 6 requires the Secretary of State to include information on what has been done to implement the Government’s microgeneration strategy in the annual reports towards our sustainable energy goals mentioned in paragraph 17. The microgeneration strategy was published in March 2006 and can be found at http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sources/sustainable/microgeneration/strategy/page27594.html.
20.Section 7 allows the Secretary of State to amend electricity distribution and supply licences to ensure that suppliers offer to acquire any excess electricity exported to the distribution network by their customers from microgeneration units. Suppliers would still be free – as they are now – to acquire exported electricity from any generator.
21.Section 8 provides that the powers in question are exercisable only between 12 and 36 months from commencement of the section.
22.Section 9 amends section 47 of the Electricity Act 1989 to require the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (OFGEM) to keep under review the carrying on of activities connected with the generation of electricity by microgeneration and its transmission and supply and to collect information with respect to those activities and the persons by whom they are carried on. The Authority is required to perform this duty from time to time so far as it is felt practicable. Section 47 already gives OFGEM a duty to keep under review certain activities in the electricity sector. By adding a specific reference to microgeneration, the section clearly indicates the importance of OFGEM keeping microgeneration under review along with other matters in the electricity sector.
23.Section 10requires the Secretary of State to review existing permitted development orders (that is, orders under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which deem planning consent to have been granted in respect of certain development) for the purpose of deciding what provision, or further provision, is necessary to facilitate the installation of microgeneration equipment. It also requires a report to Parliament on the outcome of the review and commits the Secretary of State to making the recommended changes to permitted development orders as soon as reasonably practicable after the report is laid.
24.Section 11 gives the Secretary of State the power to make building regulations in respect of microgeneration.