Homeowners can help UK hit renewable goals - Centrica

Britain could meet its renewable energy goals without punishing the power sector by improved support for homeowners wanting to help out, the director of Centrica-owned CNA.L British Gas New Energy said.

The EU's executive Commission has proposed Britain should get 15 percent of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Power generators are expected to have to meet even higher targets to achieve the 2020 goal.

Because of the transport sector's addiction to fossil fuels, many analysts believe it will be hard for Britain to meet the renewables target unless there is a rapid and widespread expansion of renewable technologies in homes across the country.

But while microgeneration has flourished in many other parts of Europe, with householders paid well to supply any extra energy they generate back on to the grid, Britain's complex support systems have stunted potential growth.

"Right now we have a patchwork of small support mechanisms and nothing that's big enough and easy enough to access," Gearoid Lane said in an interview at the Low Carbon World conference in London.

"If the support mechanisms are right then we can see a very large scale deployment of small technologies... Then the technology can start to make an impact.. and can take a lot of the strain of the very heavily burdened electricity market, or at least decrease the risk of us not getting there."

Lane, who heads the low-carbon and energy efficiency division of Britain's largest energy supplier, said small scale green schemes should receive a similar amount of financial support as large scale projects like offshore wind farms.

Funding only carbon-free power generation does nothing to tackle the huge quantity of carbon that is emitted through heating British homes and businesses, mainly with gas.

More efficient and cleaner heating systems could slash emissions and make a big contribution towards the EU goals, but home owners need encouragement to install them.

"We are at the stage now where a number of the technologies are mature enough and well-proven enough to be capable of wide scale deployment," Lane said

"There is no single technology that we should say is the answer to everything."