Barriers and success factors for domestic micro-generation in the UK

Domestic micro-generation is gaining popularity in the UK. It means electricity generation by users and household owners. Both the government and the private sector are focusing their resources for its implementation. It is believed that 15% of CO2 emissions will be reduced once micro-generation has been fully implemented by 2050.

Micro-generation seems to be the hope of environmentalists to save the Earth. It will enhance the role of households in fighting climate change. It will create energy generators out of consumers. And it is a noble idea that will surely benefit people and environment.

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But there are barriers in its implementation. The question is how and what are the ways. Not that it is impossible or too difficult to implement. As in the usual project implementation, teamwork and collaboration are needed. This project needs the support of all the stakeholders considering that there are many steps and stages that have to be followed to make it successful.

There can be various drivers of change for this attractive endeavour. Policy makers and businesses are actively pursuing it. The UK government has initiated moves to make micro-generation a primary undertaking. The Micro-generation Strategy was released in March 2006 with the aim of dealing with barriers and problems.

A law was passed, the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006, to support government initiatives on micro-generation. Another move was the creation of Energy Review, an information material to outline the aggressive activities of the UK government. (Watson et al., 2008, p. 1)

The Energy Saving Trust of the UK said that micro-generation will answer 30-40% of the countrys electricity demand by the year 2050. This will benefit the environment because it will reduce 25% of CO2 emissions. (House of Commons, 2007, p. 39)

When it comes to who is getting headway on micro-generation, the UK only has an estimated 100,000 micro-generation installations using solar thermal system, not yet at par with Japans 200,000 photovoltaic (PV) rooftop installations and the German governments subsidized PV installations. (House of Commons, 2007, p. 39)

The government is also considering tariff exemptions on certain aspects of the micro-generation implementation. Subsidies are also being talked about and to be considered in the British Parliament once a full report of the system implementation in the field is submitted.

A report by the Committee on Economic Affairs said that providing subsidies to installation of micro-generation to make sure that low-income households benefit from it, will positively impact on reducing oil consumption and thus reduce fuel poverty. (House of Lords, 2008, p. 296)

The methodology to be used for this study is review of the literature and primary research. Primary research will be conducted on respondents who are working in organizations whose .

Sustainable energy generation is attainable but there are many barriers; one of these is the cost of installing micro-generation. Capital cost is one of the problems and determining it will be one of the aims of the study.

Data will be collected through questionnaires which will be submitted to participants who will be selected at random from a list of employees or middle-level managers of the various organizations that are involved in micro-generation

The questions that will be contained in the questionnaires will run like these:

What is your role and responsibility in the organization you are in?
If your organization is a private organization, how do you partner with the government in providing micro-generation?
If you are from the government, how do you encourage private companies in collaborating with the government?
What technology does your organization specialize in?
What technology do you apply for micro-generation?
How long has your organization been involved in micro-generation?
What part of UK, or other countries, has your organization implemented this kind of technology?
What are the costs, if you know, in domestic micro-generation? Can you enumerate the costs for the different micro-generation technologies?
Where are the sources of funding in micro-generation?
What are your critical success factors?
After the selection of a random sample, the questionnaires will be emailed to the participants. The email will contain instructions on how to answer the questions and to return back the questionnaires with the corresponding answers. Those who will not return back their questionnaires will be sent again another round of emails.

Ethical considerations will also be incorporated in the conduct of the survey questions. The prospective participants will be informed that their identity will be kept confidential and that they will not be compelled to answer questions that they feel are oppressive or do not conform to the required ethical standards in conducting surveys.

Research Question
How can the UK speed up implementation of micro-renewable technology considering the various barriers and problems coming up from its initial stage of implementation?

There are a number of barriers to generation of micro energy and micro-renewable technology: high capital costs, peoples lack of understanding of the technology, and lack of knowledge of where to find source of funding.

Climate change is one of the threats facing our Earth. The deterioration of the environment has become alarming that we should not ignore it. Inhabitants of the Earth never get tired of producing things that result in environmental degradation.

Aside from misuse, another term we can apply on the environment is overuse. Much has been utilized from our important ecosystems: the forests, fisheries, wetland, fresh water resources. We move fast to destroy our ecosystem and ecological balance. And we also have to move fast and change course of actions to save the environment and the planet as a whole.

Major air pollutants come from transportation, stationary sources such as factories and power plants, and industries. Air pollutants include carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates, hydrocarbons, and photochemical oxidants.

All these harm the environment. If we change them with reusable and sustainable energy, pollutants will be controlled and once again we restore the beauty and freshness of mother Earth.

Ever since man has ventured into agriculture, he has used deforestation and destruction of the environment for personal needs, impacting climatic and ecological conditions. These irresponsible activities diminish the natural recycling of carbon dioxide gases, and in the process it accelerates and increases the inversion layer that traps the reflected energy of the sun, the .

The augmented inversion layer has an elevated atmospheric temperature, giving rise to global warming which has caused melting of the polar ice, substantial changes to climatic conditions, and depletion of the ozone layer. Something should be done to replace Earths lost glory.

The unchecked effects of global warming will not only change the makeup of the global land mass but will affect mans lifestyle on the planet. It will hasten the rise of seawater levels and cover some habitable coastlines.

In view of the rapid expansion of the worlds economies, demand for fossil fuel and construction materials will become severe. Added to this is the demand for water. And the excessive demand for fossil fuel energy, resources will also result in the demise of the ecology of our planet; the effects might be long lasting and cannot be reversed. Scientists say that this is of immediate concern.

The deterioration of our planets ecosystem and atmosphere cannot be ignored; if we have to act, the right time is now. Our planets ozone layer has been depleted by severe coal gas emissions. Worse is the reality that greenhouse gases have altered meteorological conditions.

The worlds program of action has not improved these past decades because we still depend on fossil fuel; specifically eighty percent of energy comes from fossil fuels.

There will come a time that supply of oil will fall short. In other words, there must be a way to produce a substitute for fossil fuels and coal, something that is not harmful to the ozone layers and the environment as a whole. Solar energy and other forms of environmentally friendly energy using the wind, the tidal waves, hydro, and other similar forms, must be tapped.

With the increase of consumption in energy and water in the years ahead, surely we have a big problem in our supplies of basic necessities of which only nature can provide. Agriculture will be adversely affected by lower water supplies, and there will be extreme heat and drought.

Shifting to renewable energy has been the hope of conservationists and putting micro-generation in the forefront of reducing carbon emissions at the same time freeing ourselves from dependency to fossil fuel is killing two birds in one shot.

Everyone should help in providing focus; the government, along with the public and private sectors, must ensure a smooth working model for micro-generation system. The use of micro generation is one intervention to climate change that has been identified as being applicable not just at the industrial level but also at the individual level (Sauter & Watson, 2007). But the target uptake has to be the main aim.

Many researches relating to micro generation among domestic users and industries and its role in reducing climate change have been conducted.Such researches have identified its implementation as an expensive undertaking and that therefore requires high capital costs (Keirstead, 2006; Watson, 2004; Wolven, 2001)

Very few studies have been done to assess what impact the high capital costs of this implementation would have on domestic users uptake and their expected role in reducing climate change (Caird & Roy, 2010).

The focus for this study will be on domestic users and not industries. By implementing the use of micro generation, communities and individual consumers are likely to contribute in achieving renewable targets as well as reduce carbon emissions.

Barriers include too much payback time and high costs. The customers lack of understanding, little capital, and risk-aversion with respect to technology are also some of the problems. But Watson et al. (2008) said that this can be remedied through issuance of energy service contracts to the customers to inform them of the intricacies of micro-generation installation.

In fact, if plans materialized, by 2050, life in the UK would be much easier than it is today fresh air and free of pollutants, no worries about fuel, and the environment and our place would be a safer place to live in. But that is easier said than done.

Processes and steps to a full implementation of the governments micro-generation program will encounter problems and barriers. What we should do is to get our move together, define the roles of the public and private sectors in informing and motivating household owners into acquiring their support to be a part of micro-generation system.

One of the primary activities or steps that should be undertaken is to provide information and understanding on the availability of this technology to household owners.

This paper will define the role of micro-generation in saving the environment, how to implement this great endeavour in the domestic areas of the UK, and identify the barriers and problems and find and recommend solutions so that micro-generation will be fully implemented in all households in the UK.

It will collect information from vast resources, from online and physical libraries, on the various studies conducted on micro-generation in the UK.

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