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Local authorities soon permitted to sell 'green' electricity back to grid

Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne has today (7 July) announced that councils will be allowed to sell ‘green’ electricity to the national grid by the end of the year.

Previously denied this option if the electricity was not associated with heat, local authorities which generate electricity from renewable sources such as anaerobic digestion and biomass, will soon be permitted to sell this electricity, generating revenue for the local authority.  Councils are already allowed to sell heat.

At the Local Government Association annual conference Huhne said: “It’s ridiculous that the 1976 Local Government Act prevents councils from selling electricity from local wind turbines, or from anaerobic digestion.

“I want to see this repealed and by the end of the year I hope local authorities will be able to sell electricity from renewables – generating revenue to help local services and keep council tax down. Local communities can truly benefit from the low-carbon transition.”

A consultation to determine the proposal to give local authorities the power to sell renewable electricity was issued by the Department for Energy and Climate Change in March this year. It said a change in legislation could “encourage the development of local renewable electricity projects by those local authorities that are well-placed to undertake such projects either on their own or in partnerships”.

The announcement was made as Huhne revealed that the carbon footprint of every local authority in the country has been published today. Data showed that in 2008 local authorities were responsible for emitting 8.3 million tonnes of CO2 – 1.6% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. It also showed how much electricity local authorities have generated themselves, with 33,800,000 KWh from onsite biomass facilities.

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